The aim of the Highland Grassland Project is to improve the conservation status of sensitive and threatened grassland habitat in the Mesic Highveld grassland region of South Africa. Conservation efforts are focused on securing priority habitat within the important landscape corridors for species movement and climate change mitigation that are required for the survival of threatened and endemic grassland species.
Along with habitat conservation under formal proclamation, this project will implement direct conservation measures for species specific conservation objectives, especially investigating and addressing key threats to species such as trade, illegal hunting and habitat transformation. The biodiversity stewardship approach will be used to formally secure large tracts of priority habitat for long-term conservation in conjunction with assisting continued sustainable production by grassland farmers.
The project will result in the long-term conservation of grassland biodiversity as well as the protection and maintenance of key ecosystem services, particularly the provision of sufficient, high-quality fresh water and soil fertility, to the benefit of local people and South Africans at large. Finally, a Biodiversity Management Plan for the Sungazer (Smaug giganteus) will be developed and gazetted to assist with the prevention of illegal trade of this species both for local traditional medicine and to the international pet trade.
For more information visit www.ewt.org.za.