AFRICA ENVIRONMENT OUTLOOK
Past, present and future perspectives

TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

The past 30 years have seen expansions in protected areas in Southern Africa, from just 260 areas (6 per cent of the total area) in 1989 (although this assessment excluded Tanzania, which was still associated with Eastern Africa), to a current total of 578 nationally protected areas with a combined area of over 65 million hectares (including the sizeable reserves of Tanzania) (WRI UNEP & UNDP 1990; World Bank 2001). There are also currently 44 marine protected areas in Southern Africa (see Table 2b.10)

Table 2b.10 Nationally protected areas in Southern Africa
Terrestrial Marine
Country Number Area (000 ha) % land area Number
 
Angola 13 8 181 6.6 4
Botswana 12 10 499 18.0  
Lesotho 1 7 0.2  
Malawi 9 1 059 8.9  
Mozambique 11 4 779 6.0 7
Namibia 20 10 616 12.9 4
South Africa 390 6 619 5.4 20
Tanzania 39 13 817 14.6 9
Zambia 35 6 366 8.5  
Zimbabwe 48 3 071 7.9  
Total 578 65 014 44
 

Data not available for Swaziland

Source:World Bank 2001a

Southern Africa is home to some of the world's largest protected areas including the Okavango Delta in Botswana, the largest inland delta in the world (16 000 sq. km), the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania (52 200 sq. km), and the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia (49 768 sq. km) (McCullum 2000). However, Swaziland has seen one of its three protected areas opened up for other land uses in the last 20 years and civil wars in Angola and Mozambique have resulted in the loss of some protected areas. The war in Mozambique saw widespread habitat and species loss in the Gorongosa National Park and Marromeu Buffalo Reserve in the Zambezi Delta. The ecosystems have not yet fully recovered (Chenje 2000).

The Peace Parks initiative is based on a concept similar to that of the Biosphere Reserve and several sites are now being established as transfrontier conservation areas. These include the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, established in 1998 between Botswana and South Africa, the Maloti-Drakensberg Park between Lesotho and South Africa, the Gaza- Gonarezhou-Kruger Park between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, between Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Internationally protected areas are shown in Table 2b.11.

Table 2b.11 Internationally protected areas in Southern Africa
Biosphere Reserves* World Heritage Sites Ramsar Sites
Country Number Area (000 ha) Number Area (000 ha) Number Area (000 ha)
 
Angola 0   0 0 0 0
Botswana 0   1 1 1 6 864
Lesotho 0   0 0 0 0
Malawi 1 N/A 1 9 1 225
Mozambique 0   0 0 0 0
Namibia 0   0 0 4 630
South Africa 4 N/A 1 243 17 500
Swaziland 0   0 0 0 0
Tanzania 3 N/A 4 6 860 2 3 474
Zambia 0   1 4 2 333
Zimbabwe 0   2 733 0 0
Total 8 10 7 850 27 12 026
 

*Some Biosphere Reserves are also World Heritage Sites or Ramsar sites

Source: Ramsar 2002, UNDP and others 2000,UNESCO 2002.

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