The following is a list of the specific types of activities conducted by Conservation Outcomes in assisting to establish and manage sites for biodiversity conservation
The Greater Kromme Stewardship Project, which is being funded by a collective of wind power generating companies in the Eastern Cape with the intention of securing land through the biodiversity stewardship process to protect threatened habitat and species, particularly large terrestrial birds.
Conservation Outcomes, with funding from the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, is enabling the expansion of the sustainable wildlife ranching industry. Wildlife ranching is a crucial part of developing the biodiversity economy and Conservation Outcomes is creating a game meat demonstration project in partnership with the retail industry.
The project is testing the viability of establishing a game meat market in South Africa that is consistently in line with biodiversity conservation imperatives. These imperatives focus on illustrating the way in which extensive, healthy wildlife systems are an incentive to biodiversity stewardship and can be used as a mechanism or incentive to create sustainable funding for state protected areas.
Currently, the project is focussed on setting up demonstration projects in the Greater Kruger Area and Northern Zululand in KZN. However, the intention is for these demonstration projects to be replicable and scalable across the country.
There is a direct impact on land claim beneficiaries that own conservation areas; as the game meat project is an avenue of income generation. It is not the sole solution to ensuring sustainable eco-use and conservation, but it is an important tool to be added to the wildlife economy toolbox. Furthermore, there are numerous ancillary businesses that can off-shoot from the game meat market; namely, hides and leather, and various processed meats and products. Aside from financial and business-related benefits; the availability of affordable, good quality protein that is more-easily accessible, would be of significant benefit to rural communities that need to travel big distances to purchase their food.
Game meat that is ethically harvested on an extensive system is one of the most sustainable sources of protein. It is perfectly compatible with large tracts of conservation land and utilises indigenous species that are adapted to the South African climate and habitats. In addition, the Game Meat project will provide an additional revenue stream for Protected Areas and therefore contribute to their sustainability.
The proposed Babanango Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal, is a planned Big 5 reserve which is in the initial stages of development, and includes a combination of mostly communally-owned land and privately-owned land. The reserve is an anchor site for the Umfolozi Biodiversity Economy Node, which is a flagship project of the Department of Environmental Affairs Biodiversity Economy strategy and is closely aligned with the strategic objectives of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform for land reform sites. The reserve is creating employment and ancillary economic opportunities for the beneficiary and surrounding communities, whilst conserving valuable habitats and species.
BirdLife SA Partnership – Conservation Outcomes and BirdLife South Africa are partnering to implement biodiversity stewardship on key properties in KwaZulu-Natal that are home of threatened bird species, such as Blue Swallows and Cape Parrots. This partnership will focus on securing critical habitat for these species as well as providing professional and continuous monitoring of these species.
The Table Mountain Fund is funding a project in partnership with CapeNature, focusing on the regularisation of the network of private nature reserves in the Western Cape. More than 200 private nature reserves were declared prior to the gazetting of the Protected Areas Act, which require significant engagement to ensure their compliance with the requirements of the Act.
Building on the work that it was involved in through the Global Environmental Facility-funded national Protected Area Project, Conservation Outcomes is continuing to provide technical expertise and support in the Greater Kruger Area. This includes assisting a number of strategically important areas in the completion of their protected area declaration and regularisation processes and in partnering with SANParks in the development of a Greater Kruger toolkit, which summarises a number of important guideline documents, and in the preparation of a Greater Kruger Strategic Development Programme. An important component of this work involves supporting SANParks and a number of the protected areas that form part of the open system of the Greater Kruger Area in developing and implementing Wildlife Economy and other socio-economic beneficiation initiatives in the region.
Implementation of a project funded by the Table Mountain Fund, located in the Fynbos components of the Eastern Cape, which is aimed at securing critically endangered habitat for conservation and developing a ‘Working on Reserves’ concept, which is aimed at providing employment to community members around reserves whilst addressing key conservation management challenges such as invasive alien plant control.
ZZ2 partnership – Conservation Outcomes is partnering with the ZZ2 company in Limpopo, specifically in supporting the biodiversity stewardship implementation for various areas of their extensive land holders, based on the premise that these areas will sustainably secure their agricultural production.
Undertaking the biodiversity stewardship component of the Spring Grove Dam Offset Project, which involves engaging with landowners, negotiating biodiversity stewardship agreements, preparing management plans, developing landowner beneficiation schemes and securing key land areas as protected areas through proclamation in terms of the Protected Areas Act.
Coordinating the biodiversity stewardship approach on several properties in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Free State and Mpumalanga, in partnership with the provincial conservation authorities and NGO partners such as WWF-SA and EWT. In addition, we are contributing essential management planning products to a number of existing biodiversity stewardship sites within these regions, including the development of management plans, species-specific management plans (for Elephants, Cheetah) as well as business plans for protected area expansion opportunities.
Conservation Outcomes is assisting Mainstream Renewable Power, a wind energy development company, in identifying suitable offset receiving areas for their proposed wind energy facility in the Utrecht area of northern KwaZulu-Natal. This will ensure that the potential impacts of the development will be more sustainably address through this offset mechanism.
In partnership with ECPTA and Environmental Rural Solutions, we are coordinating the development of a management plan for an area outside Matatiele in the Eastern Cape. This is an unique initiave, where 6 local communities are working together to collectively establish a new protected area in the mountainous areas adjoining the Lesotho border. These communities are committed to conserving this area, which will have significant additional socio-economic benefits through water security and improved rangeland management practices.
Conservation Outcomes is assisting a group of 7 landowners in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape in securing an area of almost 9,000ha as a new protected area, securing important areas of Sandstone Fynbos and contributing to the conservation of 2 “critically endangered” fish species (the Twee Rover Redfin and the Twee River / Cape Galaxias) in the important river system.
The Emcakwini Land Rehabilitation Project is implemented by Conservation Outcomes in partnership with Babanango Reserve Management and the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries through their Natural Resource Management Programme, on behalf of the Emcakwini Community Trust. The 3-year project will employ a minimum of 40 people from the Emcakwini Community to carry out rehabilitation and restoration activities on their land which will include:
• Clearing of invasive alien vegetation.
• Control of bush encroachment.
• Fire management.
• Wetland and donga rehabilitation.
Such activities aim to re-establish important ecological infrastructure and the services that they provide to society whilst creating jobs, developing skills and securing livelihoods for people in this anchor project area for the Umfolozi Biodiversity Economy Node (which is a flagship node under the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy). The Emcakwini Trust area is of high biodiversity conservation importance and qualifies as a priority area for government land restoration projects.
Through funding that it has received from the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, Conservation Outcomes is assisting SANParks and WWF-SA in the planning and development of a new national park in the Rhodes region of the Eastern Cape. The national park will contribute towards the protection of South Africa’s Grassland Biome, which is under-represented in the protected area system. It will protect priority vegetation types and a number of threatened, rare and endemic species as well as a significant Strategic Water Source Area, which is essential for the provision of water in the region. Conservation Outcomes is providing technical expertise and support in the planning and establishment of the new protected area.
Umfolozi Biodiversity Economy node - The development of concepts, business plans and initiatives as part of the biodiversity economy, including for sites identified as anchor projects in the Umfolozi Biodiversity Economy Node. The focus of this work is on two community projects – one with the Emcakwini Community Trust and the other with the Kwasanguye Association.
Project Rhino KZN – Conservation Outcomes is a key member of Project Rhino KZN, a collective association of 18 different organisations in KZN, with a common goal and vision to reduce the risk of Rhino poaching. This represents a collective body with extensive leverage ability, focusing on 32 game reserves that benefit from this initiative.
Conservation Outcomes has carried out the development of a number of new Elephant Management Plans as well as the revision of existing ones, to ensure that these mega-herbivores are well managed on enclosed systems.
GEF Protected Area Project - Participation in the Global Environmental Facility-funded national Protected Area Project, which is being implemented by South African National Parks (SANParks). Conservation Outcomes role is to assist in establishing cooperative legal agreements between SANParks and conservation areas on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park, and in completing the process to have the areas proclaimed as protected areas in terms of the Protected Areas Act.
Clairwood Offset Project – Offsetting the residual impacts of a development have become a key component of best practice in sustainable development. Conservation Outcomes has been securing an offset receiving property on the north coats of KZN as a new protected area, as an offset for the development of the Clairwood Logistics Park development in eThekwini Municipality.
SANBI Biodiversity Stewardship training – Biodiversity Stewardship has become the most effective mechanism to secure critical biodiversity using formal agreements. With the continued increase in staff, both within the government and NGO sectors, focusing on biodiversity stewardship implementation, it is important to continually provide training for new implementers. SANBI and Conservation Outcomes have been providing training workshops, through support of the GEF 5 programme, to enable sufficient capacity to respond to the biodiversity stewardship opportunities.
WWF Biodiversity Stewardship support – Conservation Outcomes has partnered with WWF-SA to provide best practice support to 10 biodiversity stewardship sites in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, that have been declared as nature reserves. The post-declaration support to landowners is as important as initially securing the area. This support involves finalising the title deed endorsement, enabling the fiscal incentives, reviewing and updating the management plans, and providing ecological support.
Msinsi METT assessments – Conservation Outcomes coordinated METT assessments (Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool) for 4 of Msinsi’s landholders, namely Albert Falls, Shongweni, Inanda and Hazelmere Dams.
ECPTA Biodiversity Stewardship management plans – Conservation Outcomes is partnering with Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency in developing and updating the management plans and annual plans of operation for 8 declared biodiversity stewardship sites.
WWF Conservation Champions Programme Assessments - A review of the success of beneficiation funding, provided by the Table Mountain Fund, which has been provided to landowners participating in WWF-SA’s Conservation Champions Project in the Western Cape, which is focussed on conserving key habitats in the Western Cape.
KZN Environmental Outlook Report – Conservation Outcomes contributed to a number of chapters in the 2017 KwaZulu-Natal Environmental Outlook report, a key resource in assessing the current status of biodiversity conservation in the KZN province.
Inputs into reviews of the wildlife ranching industry and the biodiversity economy, including a contribution towards “An assessment of the economic, social and conservation value of the wildlife ranching industry and its potential to support the green economy in South Africa”, which was prepared for the national Department of Environmental Affairs by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) in 2016.
Lower Olifants Custodianship Initiative - A feasibility assessment for the establishment of a Lower Olifants Custodianship Initiative, as part of the USAID funded RESILIM-O Programme, which is within the Kruger-2-Canyons footprint.