What Are Velds, Veldts, And Bushvelds?

A male lion walks upon the veld grasslands in Namibia's Etosha National Park.
A male lion walks upon the veld grasslands in Namibia's Etosha National Park.

5. Description

The grassland regions which are located in the southern portions of the African continent are widely known as the Velds, or in English terms as the Veldts. Furthermore, another term given to this sub-tropical grassland, bestowed by the World Wide Fund for Nature, is the Bushvelds. It can mostly be seen that in these areas one may find fewer trees, but one will definitely find an abundance shrubs, grasses, and the grazing and browsing animals which do not allow for trees to have proper growth. This land is often known as an "unimproved land", upon which the area cannot be easily put to use for any kind of pastoral activities or the plantation of crops.

4. Historical Role

This grassland area plays a vital role in the parts of Africa it is found, and the term veld originated from the words in the Dutch-derived Afrikaans language which means the "field area". The word Velds or the Veldts are said to be originated from the Old Dutch who used the word Veldt, which was left to be redefined and was said to be changed by the Afrikaans and included in their own dictionary. However, the word “Veldt” is said to be mingled with the English word field, and was first used during the Boer Wars fought between the British Empire and Afrikaans and Dutch settlers in the region.

3. All Different Kinds of Velds

There are many kinds of Velds, though these can generally be described as being either under one of the following:

  • Highveld: This is mostly found in the higher plateaus which start from the Drakensberg Mountains and end at Johannesburg. These areas are situated at cooler atmospheres, and have the vast area under their grassland region and have a modified sub-tropical climate.
  • Lowveld: This area is situated in the lowland areas along the border areas of South Africa where it is seen that a 180 million-year-old rift valley has cut the central plateau and has formed the area known as the Lowveld.
  • Thornveld: The area is mostly covered with the acacia thorns, and is also known as the thorny grassland region. There are many species found in the area, and this Thornveld region is actually different across itself, from the hilly slopes to the plains. Varieties of velds found here are Themeda, Genus Acacia, and Rhus.

2. Habitat and Biodiversity

As the area is of a tropical type, it so too additionally includes different kinds of vegetation and plant life in the area. The Bushvelds mainly feature the savanna mainlands and the biodiversity characteristic here features a wide array of animal and plant life alike. Cheetahs, Hippopotamuses, Savanna Ridged frogs, African clawed frogs, Vine snakes, Kori bustards, and Martial Eagles are only some of the animals and reptiles found in this area.

1. Environmental Threats and Territorial Disputes

Among some of the major threats which are found in this grassland region which are known to be ongoing are game hunting and cattle farming, wherein one preserves the habitat and the other leads to the degradation of the land very badly. This continuous grazing by the cattle exposes the soil which results in soil erosion in the area. Moreover, the farmers destroy the scavenging and the predator fauna which are seen as pests by them and are eliminated from the area. Game hunting, on the other hand, directly endangers animals who natural habitats and life cycles have already largely been altered by human activities.


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