South Africa’s Cape Floral Region (CFR) is one of the world’s great centres of terrestrial biodiversity. It is home to nearly 20% of Africa’s flora, while covering less than 0.5% of the continent’s area. The wetlands in this sensitive area face particular threats, including from development and agriculture, as the region is also home to farms growing around 95% of South Africa’s wine. On-farm conservation measures are therefore vital to protect the outstanding diversity, density and endemism of the biodiversity of the CFR.
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Ecological infrastructure refers to naturally functioning ecosystems that deliver valuable services to people. Ecological infrastructure is the nature-based equivalent of built infrastructure and is just as important for providing services and underpinning socio-economic development. It’s not only an under-realised asset for cities and their hinterlands, but also one whose potential could be relatively easily unlocked.
Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) dramatically improved its ability to link its priority conservation tasks with the sustainable development needs of Cape Town and its citizens, to the advantage of both the Park and the City’s citizens. This story illustrates the importance of a functioning governance system and a commitment to finding mutual interest between the goals of conservation and development.
The Makuleke Contractual Park is 26,500 hectares in size and lies at the northern extremity of the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa. It is bounded by the Limpopo River in the north, Luvuvhu River in the south and Mutale River in the west. The Limpopo River is also the boundary between South Africa and Zimbabwe, while the meeting point of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers is where South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique meet. The Makuleke Contractual Park is a unique and special place.
BirdLife South Africa coordinates the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme (a BirdLife International Programme) in South Africa, which are priority sites specifically for birds, but also for other biodiversity. IBAs more often than not include privately owned, multiple-use landscapes, supporting biodiversity, people and development. Of South Africa’s 122 IBAs, more than 60% is unprotected. One of the biggest challenges for BirdLife South Africa is to obtain legal protection to safe guard IBAs from unsustainable development.
Protected areas in South Africa present one of the best opportunities for economic development, especially for local communities living around them. It is understood that protected area wildlife based tourism initiatives contribute more than R2 billion to South Africa’s GDP. The solution is to create a guaranteed business opportunity for the locals through linkages of SMMEs with procurement revenue of a PA. The strategy is to assist PAs to identify goods and services and ring-fence procurement revenue for qualifying local SMMEs.