- Learning Network
Challenges · Biodiversity · Livestock and Pasture
The Namakwa District falls within the Succulent Karoo Hotspot, an arid region with the highest succulent plant diversity in the world, and with an average annual rainfall of less than 300 mm. Forty percent of the plant species in the District occur nowhere else on earth, and communal or commercial livestock farming is practiced throughout the region. The Namakwa District landscape includes over a million hectares of semi-arid rangeland that is under pressure from a variety of human activities, in particular mining, unsustainable agricultural practices, overgrazing, and climate change. This initiative is hosted by Conservation South Africa (CSA).
Ronald Newman is Director of the Namaqualand Green Economic Demonstrations (NGED) at Conservation South Africa. He joined CI/CSA in 2008 as the SKEPPIES Project Developer and became the NGED Manager in 2010. In his current role he is responsible for directing, guiding, facilitating and co-ordinating activities related to the mitigation of threats to ecosystems and contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity for the benefit of the people living in Namakwa District.Ronald Newman Director, Conservation International - South Africa
With the launch of the Biodiversity and Red Meat Initiative (BRI) three years ago, the pilot successfully catalysed new partnerships and garnered local participation, consolidated and promoted regional best practice guidelines, piloted a variety of non-lethal predator management methods, and launched a new communication vehicle for raising awareness and promoting the wider understanding of the links between livelihoods and the health of Namaqualand’s ecosystems. A key component of the BRI is the development of EcoRangers. EcoRangers are shepherds that not only protect stock, but also make use of CyberTracker technology to collect data on stock numbers, wildlife numbers, habitat condition and predator control methods. Pilot results showing a 320% decrease in stock loss using shepherding, demonstrating the need for an in-depth study of the viability of the EcoRanger model.
CSA publishes its own newspaper, VeePos, on a quarterly basis. A weekly radio program every Tuesday showcases environmental stories. CSA also manages the CSA Journalists’ Network, a group of journalists in the Northern Cape, to learn about environmental and development issues (relevant local and international case studies), understand the threats to their local communities, and also training on various subjects. They work very closely with scientific researchers and experts and have regular meetings, trainings, and workshops where scientists and the communities are brought together.