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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At the end of the European summer, two million soaring birds head south towards Africa. Their route, along the Red Sea/Rift Valley flyway, is the second most important flyway for soaring birds in the world. However, just as these areas are essential to the birds’ survival, so too are they vital for human populations, and host a growing concentration of development and energy infrastructure. If power lines and wind turbines are poorly sited along the flyway, the cumulative impacts can add up to threaten entire bird populations.
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.
The East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership brings together 33 national government agencies, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats for biodiversity and people throughout the 22 countries of the Flyway. A major objective of EAAFP is to identify a critical network of sites (the Flyway Site Network) that, if conserved and effectively managed, can support the continued migration of all waterbird species and groups into the future.
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.