The Greater Kromme Stewardship conservation programme, which has its roots back in the early eighties, has enjoyed considerable success in the past year with the first two GKS sites declared as protected areas on April 13.
The Kromensee Nature Reserve and the Sand River Private Nature Reserve are just two of many new protected areas that will be established through the GKS initiative in the region in the coming years.
Independent assessor, Mark Botha, in his Conservation Strategy Tactics & Insight July 2018, points out that the GKS has secured more priority land for conservation in the Kouga region than any other initiative in the last 50 years. This is a remarkable achievement.
Started near St Francis Bay by two groups of environmentally-minded people, the Kromme Enviro-Trust and the Wind Energy Collective (which includes Kouga Wind Farm and our neighbouring wind farms), GKS is committed to conservation, not only of bird and bat life by creating a safe refuge for them, but also of all threatened biodiversity in the district.
With Kouga Wind Farm’s own chief executive officer, Lukhanyo Ndube, spearheading these efforts as GKS chairman, we are proud to be involved in this conservation breakthrough.
Biodiversity stewardship is an exciting new process that can declare nature reserves on private land and help ordinary people become responsible stewards of the natural spaces that they own.
It secures land in biodiversity priority areas through entering into agreements with private and communal landowners, led by conservation authorities and supported by conservation NGOs.
The objective is to conserve and manage biodiversity priority areas through voluntary agreements with landowners and communities. This may involve formal protection, management and restoration of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Furthermore, continuing to secure new protected areas is a key solution to maintaining our life support system.
This not only secures habitat for threatened species, offsetting the losses from development activities but also provides the foundation for many business sectors, especially agriculture. A spin-off is that it provides water and food security by maintaining functional landscapes, including more water security for Port Elizabeth.