Government conserves irreplaceable biodiversity in Southern Mpumalanga
In March this year, Mpumalanga MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Mr Jabu Mahlangu gave his approval for the intention to declare the KwaMadlangampisi Protected Environment. This major milestone was made possible by the ongoing work of the BHP Billiton funded Enkangala Grassland Project and SANBI Grasslands Programme (both implemented by WWF-SA) together with the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA).
Enkangala Grasslands Project Coordinator, Angus Burns said: “Once this Protected Environment declaration process is concluded, it will be the first stewardship arrangement signed off by the Mpumalanga provincial government and will be a pilot for future stewardship sites. It also offers us some breathing space to conclude the Nature Reserve proclamation process that has been the focus of so much effort over the last few years.”
The KwaMadlangampisi Protected Area falls within Southern Mpumalanga which is a site of rich floral and faunal endemism, an Important Bird Area (IBA) and the source of major river systems, namely the Usutu and Pongola Rivers.
A Protected Environment declaration offers a high degree of security from unsustainable activities that would otherwise obliterate the unique biodiversity features of the area and usurp existing sustainable (and ecosystem compatible) rangeland farming practices.
“This declaration will not only look at protecting the environment, but also the culture and heritage of this important conservation area. The Grasslands are also key water catchment areas and by protecting this area we are also securing our water resources.” said Burns.