Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

Case Study by: Mike Eklund Many of the case studies for Nature Needs Half have involved an area within a defined political jurisdiction at the national, provincial or city level.  It is important to note however, that nature crosses borders and that an ecological region is often spread amongst many different political jurisdictions.  This is the case with NNH case studies  including the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area, the South Caucasus Eco-Region, and the Silk Road.  The most ambitious and the largest transfrontier conservation area in the world, however, is known as the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Area.  The Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) is situated in Southern Africa on the borders of five sovereign nation-states:  Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  The process of the creation of this territory has evolved from two initiatives (the Okavango Upper Zambezi International Tourism Initiative and the “Four Corners” Transboundary Natural Resource Management Initiative) into the current Memorandum of Understanding signed by the five countries on December 7th, 2006.  The area is situated on the Okavango and Zambezi river basins and is the world’s largest TFCA, spanning an area of approximately 287,132km2 (110,862mi2), which is almost the size of Italy (300,979km2 or 116,208mi2) according to the KAZA TFCA Website.  The area includes 36 national parks, game management areas, game reserves, and community conservancies.  The most notable of these include Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and the Caprivi Strip.  The area is one of the most ecologically rich places on the planet with an extremely high level of biodiversity.  It is home to the largest contiguous population of elephants on the African...
Mloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site

Mloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site

    By: Sonja Krueger, Guest Editor Introduction The Maloti Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site (MDP WHS) is situated in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of the Republic of South Africa and is part of the Drakensberg – an inland mountain range in south-eastern Africa (Figure 1). The Park is a national and international asset due to its unique natural and cultural values, and as such it has been listed as a World Heritage Site of dual significance, one of only 28 properties to be listed as such. It is dominated by a mountain range of unique origins, and has a diverse range of ecological niches resulting in a rich biodiversity and a high number of endemic species.  In addition, it is home to thousands of rock art paintings, a product of the San’s long historical relationship with this mountain environment. The Drakensberg catchment area is of major economic importance as it contributes significantly to the flow of the uThukela, uMkhomazi and uMzimkhulu Rivers, the three largest catchments in KwaZulu-Natal. It plays a key role in the economy of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa, through the production of high quality water from its dense network of wetlands and rivers (hence its designation as a Ramsar Site in 1996), the sustainable use of natural resources, and by serving as a core destination for the tourism industry. The Park forms a key component of the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Project (MDTP), which has been initiated as a collaborative programme between the governments of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa.  As part of achieving the transfrontier vision of the MDTP the Park...
South Caucasus Eco-Region

South Caucasus Eco-Region

Case Study by: Magnus Sylven The South Caucasus region of Southwest Asia is a superb example of planning for Nature Needs Half in an ecosystem of great natural beauty, critical biodiversity importance, and long established human settlements.  Officials are aiming for  43% of their territory to be managed with biodiversity as the primary objective .  An important, life-sustaining target has been established! This region is located between Russia, Turkey and Iran, and between the Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east. It is ranked among the planet’s 34 most diverse and endangered hotspots by Conservation International and is one of WWF’s Global 200 Ecoregions, identified as globally outstanding for biodiversity.  The 2010 IUCN Red List identifies around 50 species of globally threatened animals in the Caucasus. The Caucasus Mountains harbour a wealth of highly sought-after medicinal and decorative plants, as well as unique relic and endemic plant communities. In 2006, an “Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Caucasus” (ECPC) was launched. Through its unique coverage of the Caucasus region and its participatory development approach, involving more than 150 experts from all six Caucasus countries as well as abroad, it has ever since served as the main blueprint for the conservation of the unique ecosystems, fauna and flora of the Caucasus. The work was coordinated by WWF in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), KfW – the German Development Bank, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and the MacArthur Foundation. In addition to targets and actions set for the main biomes and cross-cutting issues, Priority Conservation Areas and Corridors were identified...
Silk Road – Transboundary Conservation

Silk Road – Transboundary Conservation

“The greatest threats our planet faces today transcend political borders, whether climate change, poverty, peace and security, water issues, or habitat and biodiversity loss. These are all tightly interlinked challenges, and to tackle them we need to think beyond borders,” Kate Harris of the Cycling Silk team. Cycling Silk is a year-long biking expedition following the Silk Road between Europe and Asia aimed at exploring existing and proposed transboundary conservation initiatives in mountainous regions along the way. Cycling Silk uses bikes to enable the autonomous and adventurous exploration of remote transboundary wildernesses, and to reinforce the notion of the Silk Road – and world itself – as a landscape of continuity and connection, despite the borders that attempt to divide it. In a single uninterrupted push lasting at least a year, starting in Istanbul, Turkey and finishing in Leh, India, we will investigate existing and proposed TBPAs encompassing some of the world’s most spectacular mountains. The Cycling Silk team of Kate Harris and Melissa Yule seek: * To investigate with borderless minds and hearts the pros and cons, successes and shortcomings, complexities and challenges of transboundary wilderness conservation in the mountains and deserts of the Silk Road. * To explore the actual and potential impact of transboundary protected areas (TBPAs) on landscapes, communities, and the geopolitics of regional peace. * To share their explorations through writing, photography, and film, and raise awareness about transboundary conservation. * To make others fall in love with this wild part of the world, through all of the above, since making people care about a place is usually prerequisite for its conservation. Why is...