Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region (K2C BR)

Country: South Africa (Coordinates: -24.348943, 30.954249 )
Size: 2,474,700 hectares Hectares
Ecoregion: Terrestrial - Montane grasslands and shrublands
Status: VCA Bronze

Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region (K2C BR) is a region located in the north east of South Africa and covers parts of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces. It encompasses the Kruger National Park, alongside large tracts of private land under conservation in the east and the Blyde Canyon Nature Reserve in the west. Altitudinal ranges (from the Drakensberg Mountains in the west towards the Savannah in east); the diverse geology and associated rainfall differences across the landscape have resulted in K2C BR's the high biodiversity and three different biomes. These are Savannah, afromontane forests and grasslands which between them allow for the wide range of biodiversity, especially plant endemism on mountaintops. The K2C BR is also home to 3.5 million people, mostly concentrated in the Transition Zones who are custodians of one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth.

K2C is recognized under the UNESCO and the Biosphere Programme and became the 411th Biosphere Reserve site to be registered from 94 countries worldwide. This acknowledges the global significance of the Greater Kruger bio-region, the eastern savannas and escarpment of South Africa. The biggest land use is nature conservation and nature-based tourism while other activities include agriculture, forestry and mining. Stakeholders in this landscape strive towards finding solutions for reconciling biodiversity conservation with sustainable development.

The Environmental Monitors programme is one of the current flagship projects of the K2C which aims to avert threats to existing land use such as threats from pests and diseases, climate change, land degradation and water stress. It is designed to facilitate eco-tourism activities, co-managed conservation areas, infrastructure development options, service provision, entrepreneurial opportunities and generally benefit local people.

K2C also initiated the implementation of a river corridor along the Blyde and Olifants river systems. The objective of this project is to restore and conserve the Blyde-Olifants river ecosystems back to an intact, resilient, robust state. This would allow the ecosystems to more easily absorb climatic changes; provide effective ecosystem services such as flood management and clean water to surrounding communities and downstream users.

People also benefit from the Reserve through capacity building opportunities which involve them in the reserve management activities and towards livelihood development. Some of these oppertunities include: engaging as river and field rangers, resource management, developing tourism related skills, and general conservation activities e.g. fence maintenance, soil erosion control, problem plant control & eradication, and fire management.

K2C built a nursery school called Ndindani Nursery school which aims at improve the social and economic needs of the local communities. The reserve management is also currently rehabilitating the Mametja and Maseka tribal authority area with the aim to restore and maintain degraded land resulting in improved water quality, reduced soil erosion and improve biodiversity.