© CI/Photo by Haroldo Castro
Raise a glass to conservationists in South Africa. To protect the nation’s lands and waters, they’re convinced that people from all walks of life must take part. In this diverse land that includes everyone from the Nama to the Ndebele, from pastoralists to potato farmers, from miners to winemakers, bringing people together in the name of conservation is a necessity.
READ MORE: In the Field in Southern Africa
Widespread collaboration makes sense. South Africa’s numerous farms and vineyards are also home to species of plants and animals that live nowhere else on Earth. Some of those habitats are thriving, but others are in trouble. South Africa is home to three of the world’s biodiversity hotspots – the Cape Floristic, Succulent Karoo, and Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany – that most urgently need our help.
HOTSPOTS: Explore Africa's Biodiversity Hotspots.
In springtime, blooming flowers turn the desert landscape of the Succulent Karoo into a brilliant carpet of magenta, indigo, and yellow in a sight that draws thousands of tourists each year. Although two-thirds of the hotspot is overgrazed, and while the region is also under stress from diamond mining and the impacts of climate change, CI is working with local communities, farmers, and miners to change this. And we are having success.
Saving South Africa’s environment is a tall order, but luckily South Africans have already stepped up their efforts to protect their homes.
The Nama people are a shining example. Today, they run the Richtersveld Community Conservancy, which protects nearly 5,000 hectares of mountainous desert within the threatened region. The nation’s first community conservancy is setting the stage for locally managed conservation and development: Already, neighboring communities have converted their parks and reserves into locally managed conservancies.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Skeppies Community Conservation and Development Small Grants Program, South Africa.
There are great conservation success stories in South Africa. And we need to make sure plant and animal species continue to survive. Because protecting plant and animal species means we are protecting the livelihoods of people like the Nama and the nation’s vinters