All biosphere reserves are organised into 3 inter-related zones.
These are the core zone(s) of strictly protected ecosystem, a buffer zone where limited human activity is permitted, and a transition zone where greater activity is allowed.
In the case of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve there are two core areas : the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and the protected environment of the Magaliesberg mountain range.
To identify where the zones are located, the simplest tool to use is Google Maps: https://goo.gl/Rf0p72
The darker colour denotes the core, while the palest colour is the transition zone.
The website refers to the Magaliesberg Protected Environment (known previously as the Magaliesberg Protected Natural Environment) Can you confirm whether this is by name only, or has it been declared ito Section 28 of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (2003)?
In 1977 under the Physical Planning Act the Magaliesberg Nature Area was proclaimed. Over the years successive pieces of legislation have preserved its status, but used different nomenclature.
At present it is the Magaliesberg Protected Environment. Section 28 (7) of the Protected Areas Act 2003 states :
"An area which was a protected environment immediately before this section took effect must for purposes of this section be regarded as having been declared as such in terms of this section".
This is of course the case with the Magaliesberg.
Each proclaimed biosphere is intended to fulfill 3 basic functions, which are complementary and mutually reinforcing:
A biosphere is a representative ecological area with 3 mutually reinforcing functions:
Collectively, all proclaimed biospheres form a World Network linked by exchanges of experience and knowledge. They are part of a UNESCO scientific programme, governed by a "soft law", the Statutory Framework.
Natural World Heritage sites must be of outstanding universal value in accordance with the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972). Efforts to enhance local development and to promote scientific understanding are means to ensure the protection of the natural World Heritage values.
In some instances, a core area of a biosphere reserve can meet World Heritage criteria: the usually larger biosphere reserve can therefore serve as a complementary means to protect the integrity of the World Heritage site.
Biospheres are organized into 3 interrelated zones:
Only the core area requires legal protection and hence can correspond to an existing protected area such as nature reserve or a national park.
This zoning scheme is applied in many different ways in the real world to accommodate geographical conditions, socio-cultural settings, available legal protection measures and local constraints.
This flexibility can be used creatively and is one of the strongest points of the biosphere reserve concept, facilitating the integration of protected areas into the wider landscape.
The Statutory Framework makes provision for a periodic review every 10 years.
Reports are prepared by the concerned authority, and forwarded to the UNESCO Secretariat. The reports are examined according to a set procedure. In the event that a site designated as a biosphere reserve does not satisfy the criteria, after a reasonable period of time the area will no longer be referred to as a biosphere reserve of the World Network.
To date, this procedure has never reached this conclusion: however several counties have voluntarily withdrawn "non-functional" sites and this has been commended by the MAB International Coordination Council.
Biospheres are not the object of a binding international convention or treaty but are governed by a "soft law" -- the Statutory Framework for Biosphere Reserves -- adopted by the UNESCO General Conference and which all countries are committed to apply.
The UNESCO Secretariat does not have a "police function" and it is the responsibility of each country, through its MAB National Committee or Focal Point, to ensure that the proclaimed biosphere responds to the criteria and functions properly.
For this, in most countries it is not necessary to enact special national legislation for biosphere reserves but rather to use the existing legal frameworks for nature protection and land/water management. This being said, an increasing number of countries are now giving biospheres a special legal status in order to reinforce their application.
In the case of a perceived problem, e.g. plans to construct an oil refinery within the site, the biosphere reserve status should be used as a platform for dialogue to arrive at an optimal solution. The MAB Secretariat will remind the concerned MAB National Committee/Focal Point of its responsibility in such cases.
Provides international recognition for the diversity of interests in the Magaliesberg.
Provides an international network for co-operation and information sharing.
Fosters understanding between the different ways in which land is perceived as valuable.
Creates a “sense of place” for everyone. This is OUR Magaliesberg – not yours or mine.
Creates an international network of opportunities – capacity building, research, funding.
Offers a transparent communication of information.
Reduces confrontation and controversy.
Consolidates legislation, EMFs and local government planning into one code of practice for all.
Provides a practical framework and clear guidelines for implementing legislation.
Fosters economic and human development in the region.
Provides a forum for capacity building.
Provides a network of specialists for technical input on development projects
Provides a basis for funding and financial allocation.
Gives guidelines for infrastructure priorities.
Provides a pre-screening framework for EIA processes.
Provides substance to sustainable development and removes ambiguity from the term.
Offers a platform for research.
Provides a centralised database of information and resources.
Provides a structure for environmental education and knowledge dissemination.
Provides a public image and respectability for initiatives.
Offers frameworks for poverty relief programmes.
Directs and guides infrastructure and development needs – housing, roads, services, etc.
Offers sustainable employment opportunities.
Supports self sustainability programmes, food production, entrepreneurial skills, etc.
Provides future security for existing lifestyles.
May increase financial security of property.
Provides the resident communities with a common cause.
Gives a competitive advantage as a tourist destination.
Provides a promotional “hook.”
Is a significant requirement for overseas visitors (and, possibly local ones in time).
Encourages a general improvement in service standards.
Increased land values
Enhances the market desirability of the region.
Provides guidelines for sustainable development.
Vhembe, situated in the north-east of Limpopo, which includes the northern part of the Kruger National Park; the Makuleke Wetland, which is protected under the Ramsar Convention; the Soutpansberg and Blouberg biodiversity hot spots; and the Makgabeng Plateau, which boasts hundreds of rock-art sites.
The 100 000-ha Kogelberg Reserve on the country’s southern coast is in the middle of the Cape Floral Region and home to 1 880 different plant species, 77 of which are found only in this region.
The Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve starts in Cape Town in the southern suburb of Diep River and stretches up the west coast as far as the Berg River, encompassing parts of the Cape Floral Region. The reserve includes the Ramsar-protected Langebaan Lagoon as well as Dassen Island, which is home to a penguin colony. The Koeberg Nuclear Power Station falls within its boundaries.
The Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve includes a part of the Cape Floral Region, as well as the wine-growing region. The historic settler-founded towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek lie here.
In the north is the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, an area of some 400 000 ha in Limpopo. It is an important catchment area for the Limpopo Basin, with four large rivers originating within its borders – the Lephalale, Mokolo, Matlabas and Magalakwena rivers. San rock art abounds, as does the flora and fauna of the area.
The Kruger-to-Canyons Biosphere Reserve stretches from the Kruger National Park to the Blyde River Canyon. It is an important conservation area as it covers three biomes.The two additions in June 2015 bring to total of Biosphere Reserves in South Africa to eight.
The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve straddles the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces and spans 3 million hectares. The reserve is the convergence of three biodiversity hotspots - the Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Maputoland-Tongoland-Albany hotspots.
The Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve is about 360 000 hectares, including the archaeologically significant Cradle of Humankind. The region is endowed with scenic beauty, unique natural features, rich cultural heritage value and rich biodiversity, including 45% of the total bird species of Southern Africa.