Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment has been expanded

A further 7 448 hectares have been added to the existing area.

Wetlands and rocky outcrops are some of the microhabitats within the protected environment, hosting threatened and endemic species specialised for these niches (Photograph: Kyle Lloyd)

The Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment (GLPE) has been extended by 7 448 hectares, and now covers an area in excess of 20 000 hectares. The new area is made up of 32 farm portions and has been officially gazetted (Mpu. Prov. Gazette No. 3569, Notice 344).

Established in 2017 and initially covering 14,305 ha from 66 farm portions, the GLPE was declared to safeguard the grasslands and wetlands on private farms situated on the Steenkampsberg plateau in northern Mpumalanga Province.

High-elevation grasslands in South Africa, such as are found in the Greater Lakenvlei Protected Environment, face major threats from habitat destruction and degradation (Photograph: Kyle Lloyd)

A protected environment is a type of biodiversity stewardship agreement between provincial authorities and private or communal landowners with the aim of encouraging sustainable management for the benefit of nature conservation alongside daily land use activities. Biodiversity stewardship acknowledges landowners as the custodians of nature and creates a platform through which authorities and NGOs can assist with the management of their natural resources.

BirdLife South Africa and the Endangered Wildlife Trust assisted Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency and the GLPE Landowners Association with the site assessments, landowner interviews and motivations for the expansion commencing in 2021. BirdLife South Africa provides the landowners of the GLPE with post-declaration support such as biodiversity surveys, wildlife-friendly fencing, establishing birding routes, appealing developments incompatible with conservation and contributing to wetland rehabilitation amongst other projects.

Dr Kyle Lloyd, Wetland Conservation Project Manager/Rockjumper Fellow of White-winged Flufftail Conservation) said that BirdLife thanked all the individuals and organisations that partnered with it to achieve this milestone.

Read the full media release.

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