Co-operation for Conservation

Welcome to the Midlands Conservancies Forum Blog.  The conservancy movement in South Africa has its roots in KZN Midlands with Balgowan being the first conservancy established in 1978 by landowners in the area who were concerned about the reduction in the number of game and general degradation of the environment. Today there are 14 conservancies within or overlapping the Umgeni Local Municipality.

In keeping pace with international environmental issues and the ever-increasing threat to our dwindling biodiversity the conservancy movement has expanded its influence to include challenges way beyond the founding concerns for the reduction in game and general degradation of the environment.  The fact of the matter is that, at the very least, the state of the environment in the KZN Midlands is of vitally and direct importance to well in excess of 3 million people who depend largely on this region for their fresh water.

In terms of global the planet has 34 biodiversity hotspots which are the Earth’s most biologically rich and threatened areas. These hotspots hold especially high numbers of unique species, yet their combined area now covers only 2.3 percent of the Earth’s land surface.  South Africa is home to 3 of the 34 global biodiversity hotspots and the Midlands not only falls into the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany hotspot but is one of the 21 priority nodes that have been identified by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund for investment aimed at securing existing biodiversity.  The Midlands Conservancy Forum is proud to have been awarded a two year grant that has been used to establish the MCF Biodiversity Stewardship project that is working closely with KZN Wildlife.

The reality of the Conservancy movement is that it has until know been championed by volunteers who are landowners and, in many cases, have precious little time and therefore this needs to be used to the maximum potential.  This has lead to the establishment, and current success, of the MCF.  It is an ideal forum to share knowledge, experiences and collectively tackle common issues in the most co-0rdinated and effective way possible.  It is also a forum that has the capacity, through its landowner support base, geographical influence and biological inventory, to attract funding for critical environmental projects.  It is also a forum for any and all government departments, NGOs and industries to engage with environmentally minded landowners.

Through this blog we hope to promote the aims of the MCF in general and the sharing of information in particular.  It is your platform to express and respond to ideas and concerns.  Please use it wisely and respectfully!

Andrew Anderson
Chairman – Midlands Conservancy Forum

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2 thoughts on “Co-operation for Conservation

  1. Ann Burke

    Coming from the United States, the conservancy concept was a relatively novel idea. To learn more, I read, Conservancies in Natal, 1978-1993 – The origins and application of a component in informal wildlife conservation, by Steven Kotze’ as a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in the department of Historical Studies at the University of Natal. He writes, “Conservancies are groups of privately owned and spatially consolidated properties that include in their management the conservation of fauna and flora which occur within their collective boundaries. This definition contains key elements which make conservancies UNIQUE in wildlife conservation HISTORY. As far as can be determined, conservancies originated in, and spread out from the KZN midlands, becoming the FIRST private and collective effort to enforce active wildlife conservation on farm land.”

    Involvement with the Midlands Conservancy Forum is an opportunity to experience this collective action first hand. It is inspiring as you begin to realize this action is protecting not only wildlife but it is enlarging the boundaries of community to include nutrients, soils, plants, waters, biodiversity, corridors and ecosystem services. I encourage everyone who visits this site to find out how they can become more involved with an existing conservancy or how to establish a new one. In the face of global environmental crisis, the quality of our health, our lives and our future depends upon our individual and collective action.

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