South Africa is the first country to set up a trust for its biosphere reserves. The trust links all biospheres in the country to work as one aligned unit. Biosphere reserves are encouraged to place strong emphasis on local collaboration and breaking down the barriers between municipalities, farmers, businesses and the general public.
The 12.01 Project and the Biosphere Trust are working together to write a report and produce a documentary on the value of biospheres in South Africa.
"We've had a great spin around the Cape Winelands and Gouritz Cluster biospheres as well as the Garden Route Initiative. We'd now like to come up north and visit the projects that you are involved with," says Pierre Hestein, one of the filmmakers.
There are a few goals for this trip. The 12.01 Project will visit selected projects and the people in charge of them to understand what kind of work is being done and the impact it's having.
"We'd like to get in touch with the people and families whose lives are being changed by the work of the biospheres" says Ben Cook.
Ben and Pierre will be in the region the second week of April.
*What are your ideas for sustainable projects in the Magaliesberg Biosphere?
The South African National MAB Strategy and the MAB Implementation Plan served as our guideline to a larger or lesser degree. These documents were accepted at the 10th National MAB committee meeting, attended by Johan West, Chairperson of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.
Johan also comments that –
Boards have to be more representative; that funding is less because of budget cuts; and that individual biosphere reserves have to improve the quality of their strategies and progress reports.
The drought is having a severe impact on livestock. It has resulted in a shortage of food (grazing fodder) and drinking water for cattle is drying up. The high demand in cattle feeds has resulted to prize increases from approximately R80, 00 to R125, 00 per/50kg from late 2015 to 2016. Most of the local households still depend on the livestock for their livelihood.
The Biosphere is re-establishing badly degraded spekboom veld through planting spekboom cuttings, allowing the plants to grow a natural canopy, and then leaving the land undisturbed and free from grazing pressures for many years. This programme offers many benefits, including new jobs, restored natural environment attracting more tourism, and improved rainwater infiltration.