Conservation of biodiversity is protection, upliftment and scientific management of biodiversity so as to maintain it at its threshold level and derive sustainable benefits for the present and future generation….
By conserving biodiversity, we not only ensure that our surroundings are richer and more diverse, but also we secure the resources that will continue to provide improvements in the quality of human life.
All started in South Africa when, in 1995, South Africa signed the “United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity”. The development of a biodiversity policy for South Africa was therefore needed for the ratification of the Convention as a law. In 1996 the draft policy (Green Paper) was released as a discussion document for public comment. An extensive consultation with all interested and affected parties was held throughout the country, and more than 3000 organisations were briefed as interested and affected parties. In May 1997, the “White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biological Diversity” was published, amply discussed and gave birth to all our environmental laws.
All laws comply with the Vision, Mission and Principles of the White Paper, which:
… are underpinned and guided by South Africa’s new Constitution which provides within its Bill of Rights that everyone has the right:
a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that:
- i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
- ii) promote conservation; and
- iii) secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.
The Crocodile River Reserve has been proclaimed as a Protected Area according to the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act of 2004 which provides for the protection and conservation of ecologically viable areas representative of South Africa’s biological diversity and its natural landscapes, seascapes and the management thereof.
The responsibility of conserving biodiversity has been given to more than a hundred landowners, who voluntarily committed to it. Whilst conservation of biodiversity is a responsibility of each single landowner who signed an agreement with the Government, the management of such responsibility and the implementation of collective efforts of conserving and protecting biodiversity has been transferred to the Grassland Stewardship Alliance by the landowners themselves. It is an Alliance which is as strong as it is open, informative, inclusive, socially conscious, guided, supported and sustainable. It is an Alliance which has accepted the Management responsibility as the Authority in conserving the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the Crocodile River Reserve and its buffer zone.
The conservation effectiveness of the Grassland Stewardship Alliance will be measured by its mentor and biodiversity controller, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Biodiversity Stewardship.
Management’s effectiveness will be measured by its ability and success in implementing conservation measures.
The authority’s effectiveness will be measured by the responsible decisions the Grassland Stewardship Alliance will take when our biodiversity is endangered, and the degradation of any areas and irresponsible behaviour and illegal activities happen.
The Protected Areas [Environmental] Management Plan (PAMP), the collection of strategies and actions designed by the CRR landowners for maintaining and expanding the committed conservation of properties, will be published on this website.
It will include sections like:
- Invasive and alien vegetation management
- Fire management for conservation and protection (designed with the CRR Fire Protection Association)
- Our rivers pollution management
- Wildlife management
- Environmental Education
- Socio economic development
- Environmental crime prevention
- Alliance expansion and sustainability
And many other topics that the landowners have considered critical for honouring the contract they signed and brought the Crocodile River Reserve to be included in the National Protected Areas Register.