ELANDSBERG DECLARATION A WIN FOR WATER SECURITY AND BIODIVERSITY
The recent declaration of the Elandsberg protected environment in KZN is a significant step in efforts to secure South Africa’s most significant water source areas. A protected environment (PE) enjoys formal protection with major conservation gains. The Elandsberg PE lies in the watershed between the Thukela and Phongolo primary catchments, both significant river systems with many downstream rural users, irrigation systems and urban centres, all dependant on the sustained flow of clean water.
Through this declaration, activities such as correct stocking of livestock and appropriate fire management will be sustained. It will also prevent incompatible land use practices from taking place. The new PE also contributes towards securing the land needed to achieve conservation targets within KZN by protecting endangered vegetation types, flora and fauna.
The landscape vistas are a mix of grasslands, forests, wetlands and riparian areas, with the many cultural and historic sites offering tourism potential. The natural vegetation in the high mountains offers protection against climate change by reducing flooding risks, amongst other things.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an independent conservation organisation, the mission of which is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment, conserve biological diversity, ensure that the use of natural resources is sustainable and reduce pollution and wasteful consumption. WWF South Africa is a local NGO and national office that is part of the WWF network.