BIODIVERSITY STEWARDSHIP AS A TOOL FOR THREATENED SPECIES CONSERVATION
Mark Gerrard
Wildlands Conservation Trust

 

Abstract:
The reduction of wildlife populations is occurring at an accelerating rate worldwide. For an increasing number of taxa, these factors result in small and isolated populations that are at risk of extinction. One of the major threats facing numerous species in the wild is that of habitat fragmentation and loss. This is becoming increasingly evident with the ever growing human population, and there is a vital need to maintain and increase the land under conservation and connect these areas with appropriate management. Much of the land available for conservation is either privately or communally owned. In order to achieve improved conservation land management in the context of the broader landscape, a system is needed which can encompass the different aspects of land ownership. The flexibility of Biodiversity Stewardship allows this. The importance of achieving this is, however, hampered by a number of challenges. These challenges include different land ownership structures and land tenure (such as private, communal, state and claimed land); different land uses ranging from intensive agriculture through to game reserves (with either hunting or ecotourism operations); barriers (fences, monocultures and residential areas) and also creating incentives for the different land uses relating to their level of input and economic models. Despite these challenges, the flexibility of the Biodiversity Stewardship approach is the most appropriate way in which to secure threatened species and their habitats in this landscape mosaic of different land uses and land ownership. This paper highlights these challenges and the use of Biodiversity Stewardship as a mechanism in achieving security for threatened species in this landscape mosaic, using the black rhino (Diceros bicornis), wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and vulture species as case studies.

 

Presentation Topic
BIODIVERSITY STEWARDSHIP AS A TOOL FOR THREATENED SPECIES CONSERVATION
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