CONSERVING CHRISSIESMEER: A BIODIVERSITY STEWARDSHIP CASE STUDY
Ursula Franke
Endangered Wildlife Trust

 

Abstract
The Chrissiesmeer area – situated within the larger Mpumalanga Lakes District – has the highest concentration of seasonal and permanent lakes and pans in South Africa. The area has been identified as largely Irreplaceable according to the Mpumalanga Biodiversity Sector Plan, it is a National Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Area (NFEPA), and a proposed Ramsar site (wetland of international importance). It provides habitat for large populations of waterbirds, as well as a high number of IUCN Red Data List species and thus the area qualifies as a Protected Environment under the Biodiversity Stewardship Programme. Formally conserving about 62 000 ha of this predominantly agricultural landscape under Stewardship comes with certain challenges. The farming community consists of both commercial and subsistence farmers, with a total of over 60 landowners involved in the process. Management issues include grazing pressure, fire management, pesticide run-off into pans, and the management of damage-causing animals and alien invasive plants. The management plan currently being written will, therefore, ask a large group of diverse land owners to collectively manage an area for biodiversity. The area is also under increasing pressure from mining. This presentation will look at the role of partnerships within the Biodiversity Stewardship process, the challenges involved in securing an area comprised of multiple land owners, the influence of external pressures such as mining on the process, and what expectations to have for the Chrissiesmeer area post-proclamation.

 

Presentation Topic
CONSERVING CHRISSIESMEER: A BIODIVERSITY STEWARDSHIP CASE STUDY
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