Promoting healthy ecosystems to build resilience to climate change

Partners

Conservation South Africa (Khusel'indalo South Africa)

Conservation South Africa (CSA) works within three ‘biodiversity hotspots’ located at the southern tip of Africa that together cover an area the size of California. The conservation of South Africa’s hotspots is vital not only for the inherent value of their species and natural areas, but because sustainable resource use and development in South Africa is directly tied to political, social and economic stability. Water security, sustainable food production, health, unemployment (which is greater than 40 percent) and poverty (the majority of households earn less than $100 per month) are already huge challenges in the region. The additional impacts of climate change (particularly the predicted occurrence of extreme storms, temperatures and drought) will dramatically increase risk to the communities living in these fragile ecosystems.

Climate change is amount the most pervasive threats to people and biodiversity today. Without action, climate change will cause the extinction of countless species, destroy some of the world’s most precious ecosystems and devastate human livelihoods. The challenge is for South Africa to adapt fast enough to a changing climate, and to shift production practices to reduce its carbon footprint. Mitigation and adaptation activities align well with sustainable land management practices and include the more efficient use of water and the restoration and maintenance of healthy ecosystems.

CSA promotes the message that intact ecosystems are essential to reducing the vulnerability of urban farming, fishing and coastal mining communities to the negative impacts of extreme climatic events. On the ground, CSA promotes conservation stewardship in three mega-corridors. We believe that stewardship encourages land users to protect ecosystems required for resilience to climate change by enabling and motivating them to either set aside a portion of their land for conservation or to use their lands sustainably. In exchange, incentives or in-kind support by the CSA team and/or provincial conservation authorities is provided in a formal agreement with the land-user. The results are reduced vulnerability for entire communities by working with a few in critical areas.

Our strategies of influencing policy, developing markets, communicating conservation messages and building local capacity have worked in harmony to provide the basis for sound conservation-based economic growth models and long-term human well-being that can be replicated on a global scale. In South Africa, we hope that by 2020 our efforts will have influenced government and donors to integrate ecological approaches into their strategies to respond to climate change. We will continue to support the maintenance and restoration of ecosystems services, particularly water catchments and habitat linkages for optimal floral and faunal persistence, through the empowerment of private and communal land stewards in the three mega-corridors.



Click the image to enlarge: Terrain in the Roodebergskloof
Terrain in the Roodebergskloof
Click the image to enlarge: Conservation International installs a water pump in the Kamiesberg on the farms of one of the farmes who have signed the BRI stewardship agreements
Conservation International installs a water pump in the Kamiesberg on the farms of one of the farmes who have signed the BRI stewardship agreements
Click the image to enlarge: Restoring wetlands. Malinda Gardiner is the stewardship manager of the Biodiversity and Red Meat Initiative.
Restoring wetlands. Malinda Gardiner is the stewardship manager of the Biodiversity and Red Meat Initiative.
Click the image to enlarge:
Click the image to enlarge: Anatolian sheep dog breeding centre
Anatolian sheep dog breeding centre
Posted: 8/12/2010 (3:12:00 PM)

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