Climate Change is the new reality in our lives. Natural disasters dominate headlines locally and globally, with a growing awareness that our beautiful planet is fragile and that we’re testing her limits. In addition, we’re reminded daily of how poorly we treat our home; driving species to extinction, polluting rivers and seas; and unsustainably using the resources that sustain us. It is against this background that WILDLANDS pioneer new pro-poor development approaches that make a sustainability difference.
WILDLANDS has networks in 60 communities across KwaZulu-Natal, Western, Northern & Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, transforming the lives of thousands of South Africans and improving their livelihoods through innovative sustainable programs. Our WILDLANDS programme is structured around three integrated pillars, namely our Wildlife Economy, Ecological Restoration and Sustainable Communities’ interventions. With a core focus on inclusive growth, the WILDLANDS programme is improving the lives of thousands of South Africans whilst restoring and conserving the natural environment that supports them.
Trees for Life
This iconic WILDLANDS’ project sees the education about and growing of indigenous trees on a large scale. Essentially people from disadvantaged communities grow and barter trees with WILDLANDS in exchange for livelihood support items or cash – giving them the ability to “grow” themselves out of poverty and provide for their families. The trees are then planted into restoration sites that contribute to our climate change mitigation and adaptation work.
Ecological Restoration Project
The WILDLANDS Ecological Restoration project, with support from the Department of Environmental Affairs: Natural Resource Management (NRM) aims to restore degraded forest (using the trees grown by WILDLANDS Tree-preneurs), grasslands, savanna and fynbos landscapes combating land degradation and adapting South Africa’s landscape to be better prepared for climate change. Through revegetation and improved management of landscapes we work to re-establish ecosystem function and resilience.
The vision for this project is to ‘Khuthaza’ (encourage) and support individuals who display commitment, determination and business acumen to grow their entrepreneurial ideas and activities and to provide them with an opportunity to enter the Green economy. As the project has evolved, we have been able to integrate a greater training and development component, providing the entrepreneurs with a better foundation from which to grow their businesses.
Food for Life
The initiative aims to create a community culture that values and practices self-worth, self-reliance, enterprise, optimism, proactivity and a “start with what you have, build on what you know” philosophy. The goal is for this to be done through Community Hubs. Community members are empowered with climate-smart, permaculture technologies which they can use to improve food security, address malnutrition and reduce costs for themselves and their families. The vision is to create micro-entrepreneurs who use permaculture vegetable gardening to improve their own health and earn an income, while building the local economy through networked, ecologically sustainable food production. A total of 18 Future Farmers (agricultural graduates) have been given the opportunity to develop their skills through implementing this project.
Recycling for Life
This project focus is on enabling communities and individuals (Waste-preneurs) to improve their living environment by collecting waste in and around their homesteads and recycling and trading it with WILDLANDS in exchange for cash. This aids communities and individuals in two ways, by creating much-needed income and creating a cleaner environment, particularly for those communities that don’t benefit from municipal waste collection services. The initiative is built around the consistent collection of recycling from Waste-preneurs, schools, recycling villages and local businesses across WILDLANDS operating nodes. We are committed to growing our network of people in communities who collect and trade recycling as well as continuing our journey to develop, explore and innovate new and creative solutions to address the waste problem.
WILDLANDS’ Biodiversity Economy project’s key objective is to ensure inclusive growth and social justice for rural communities living on land with marginal agricultural value through growing opportunities in the biodiversity economy. Our initiatives focus specifically on the Wildlife Economy which centres on the socio-economic benefits of eco-tourism, co-managed conservation areas and ancillary services to protected areas. The initiative is implemented at five sites in KwaZulu Natal: Tshanini-Bhekula Community Reserve, Somkhanda Community Reserve, Dartmoor (Karkloof Nature Reserve), Buffelsdraai Nature Reserve and the Upper uThukela (Mweni) area. The major focus going forward will be expanding the benefits beyond the boundaries of the reserves.
The objective of the WILDLANDS’ Species Conservation project is to support the conservation of endangered and critically endangered species through improved ecosystem management and interventions that secure vulnerable animals. When we focus on iconic species we draw attention to vulnerable ecosystems, and when we put in place mechanisms to protect iconic species, it benefits the broader ecosystem. So, our species initiative should not be seen in isolation of our biodiversity economy, restoration or sustainable communities’ projects, but as an integral part that conveys the message and sounds the warning bells when intervention is needed. We are currently involved in conservation activities linked to rhino, elephant, lion and wild dog (and several endangered bird species) – For more information visit www.wildseries.co.za and to find out how you can help see the ADOPT A FACT SHEET.
For more information about any of our terrestrial conservation projects CONTACT US