Celebrating International Day of Biological Diversity

Forestry South Africa (FSA) celebrates International Day of Biological Diversity (Monday 22 May 2023) with a video that emphasises the need to take action to conserve biological diversity for future generations and the role multifunctional landscapes can play...

The South African forestry landscape is a multifunctional environment, where grasslands, indigenous forests, wetlands, rivers and streams weave their way between the productive forestry compartments. These natural spaces provide important habitats and migratory routes for all kinds of species, some of which are endangered and others that are only found in South Africa (endemic). These natural corridors are important, enabling the free movement of species both within the forestry landscape and between conservation areas that neighbour it. When these unplanted natural areas are managed in a way that promotes biodiversity, they can play a really important role in the conservation of both individual species and whole ecosystems.

"Across the forestry landscape, there are over 170 000 hectares of grasslands, with their associated wetlands and pans, and over 60 000 hectares of indigenous forests, all of which are sustainably managed by forestry companies. Very few Agri-sector businesses would leave 30% of their landholdings unplanted, however, in forestry this is common practice and as a result, the forestry landscape is made up of a mosaic of planted compartments and natural spaces. FSA is intensely proud of the onus forestry companies place on being custodians of the natural spaces found within their landholdings and the role these are having in maintaining and preserving biodiversity." – FSA Head of Communication and Director of Research and Protection, Dr Ronald Heath.

The Forestry Sector provides the perfect example of how it's possible to incorporate environmental stewardship into a production landscape without compromising on productivity. This not only benefits biological diversity, but it also produces a patchwork landscape that provides all manner of recreational activities that benefit our mental and physical health. FSA commissioned this video in celebration of the International Day of Biological Diversity to encourage other land users to take a multifunctional landscape approach when planning their management activities. We hope this will inspire them to do their bit in conserving South Africa's precious biodiversity for future generations to come.

"We are only now realising the true extent of the impact human activity is having on our planet. The dramatic loss in global biodiversity combined with the changing weather patterns attributed to climate change, are a warning to us all that now is the time to act. Small changes make big differences and if we all take responsibility now, as individuals and companies, we still have time to reverse these worrying trends. We have gone past the point where biodiversity can be conserved in dedicated nature reserves alone, we need to adopt a multifunctional landscape approach where production landscapes are managed in a sustainable way that promotes environmental and social benefits alongside economic gains. The video illustrates this, showcasing the important role multifunctional landscapes play in the conservation of biological diversity and how adopting this approach can make a big difference", Dr Heath concludes.

Visit the FSA website: Forestry South Africa | Forestry South Africa Official Site

*Video shot and edited by SA Forestry / Green Forest Films