Abstract:

Supporting Biodiversity Conservation in the KZN Midlands

Gareth Boothway

Midlands Conservancies Forum, PO Box 30, Dargle, 3265

The mission of the Midlands Conservancies Forum is to facilitate and coordinate the activities of a coalition of KZN Midlands conservancies, focussing on biodiversity conservation, which will ensure long-term environmental sustainability in the area. The Biodiversity Stewardship Programme is the ideal tool for achieving this purpose. A large area of Midlands Mistbelt grassland and indigenous forest will be officially proclaimed to protect these critically important habitats.

Regular walks which provide access to these areas, serve to inspire everyone to value biodiversity and understand the eco-system services which these areas provide humanity.

The future of biodiversity conservation is in the hands of private landowners. Conservancies are the key to securing valuable biodiversity.Collective action around common conservation goals is imperative. Collaboration and Partnerships are essential to the process.Each contribution to biodiversity conservation is valuable and important

Our actions, as custodians of vulnerable biodiversity and an important catchment, impact on a far wider community, including Pietermaritzburg, Durban and beyond. The KZN Midlands is an important water catchment area, has forests which are home to the rare Cape Parrot, some of the last Midlands Mist-belt grasslands (an important carbon sink) and includes habitats of many endangered species. A decrease in ecosystems’ biodiversity leads to a reduction in ecosystem services.

The very first conservancy established in SA was in Balgowan in 1978 and since then the area has become renowned for commitment to stewardship of natural resources.

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