22 May, 2021
Sappi managing biodiversity through protection of high value conservation areas
|Roelton Dam supplies water to Ixopo
On the United Nation's International Day of
Biodiversity, celebrated on 22 May every year, the global community is called to re-examine its
relationship to the natural world. In
South Africa, where Sappi is one of the country's major landowners, the company
is proud to lay claim to this year's theme which states: "We're part of the solution".
Of the 394,000 hectares of its owned and leased land, Sappi manages
approximately one third for biodiversity, which includes seven proclaimed
nature reserves as part of our conservation efforts.
project takes place on the Sappi Sutton plantation, near the town of Ixopo in
KwaZulu-Natal, which features a patch of KZN Mistbelt Grassland, situated
within the 118ha Roelton Nature Reserve.
It is here on this land that has been identified as an Important Bird
and Biodiversity Area (IBA) that the critically endangered Blue Swallow (Hirundo
atrocaerulea) comes to breed every summer.
migrant bird is uniquely adapted for the misty conditions in the grasslands,
and with less than 40 pairs left in South Africa, they enjoy the protection of
BirdLife South Africa's Blue Swallow Stewardship Project. This programme
formally protects the last known breeding sites of the Blue Swallow in South
Africa under the national Biodiversity Stewardship initiative, in conjunction
with KZN conservation authority, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Nature Reserve was the most recent formally protected areas (FPA) within
Sappi's landholdings which was added to its list of six other areas proclaimed
under the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (Act 57 of
2003). These FPAs are protected through
partnerships between landowners, Provincial Conservation Authorities and NGOs
to secure biodiversity, giving long-term security to sites that are important
for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The small 118ha Roelton Nature
Reserve is also home to the Mistbelt Chirping Frog, currently listed as
‘Endangered', by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red
List of Threatened Species.
The six other nature reserves
that fall under Sappi's protection are:
Oosterbeek Nature Reserve and Angle Ridge Nature Reserve (2,997 hectares
ha) are both located in the Highlands Management unit of Sappi's Twello
plantation. These reserves lie within the headwaters of the Mhlumati and Mtsoli
Rivers within the InKomati Water Management Area, which is of strategic
importance in supplying water to the region, including Mozambique. The value of
these areas lies in the fact that they are areas of outstanding natural beauty
and are part of the Barberton Centre of Endemism and Barberton Mountainlands,
an ecosystem gazetted as Vulnerable.
- The Mount
Morgan Nature Reserve, a grassland portion (1,013 ha) of the Montrose and
Kempstone Management Units of Sappi's Twello plantation, is an area of outstanding
natural beauty containing serpentine outcrops with associated endemic species
(unique serpentine flora: e.g. Berkheya coddi, species of Inezia)
adapted to high levels of heavy minerals.
Ngodwana River Valley Nature Reserve is a grassland and woodland area (965
ha) of the Sappi Nooitgedacht plantation in Mpumalanga. The area is representative
of a transition between two Endangered vegetation types - Northern Escarpment
Dolomite Grassland and Legogote Sour Bushveld - and lies adjacent to
Coetzeestroom Nature Reserve. Accordingly, it's important for protected area consolidation
- The 940 ha Clairmont
Mountain Nature Reserve on Sappi's Clairmont plantation in KwaZulu-Natal
comprises several habitats with high conservation value including 811 ha of grasslands;
129.6 ha of indigenous forests: and 3.6 ha of wetland. Due to this diversity of
habitats, Clairmont Mountain is also rich in biodiversity and home to a number of
Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable and Red Data List species. It is also
home to species of cultural importance, including a host of medicinal plants.
- The Karkloof Nature Reserve
in KwaZulu-Natal, of which Sappi owns 223 ha, is a vital and significant area
because of its biodiversity. The Reserve comprises predominantly Mistbelt
Forest and Mistbelt Grassland.
|Roeltn Nature Reserve
Besides the seven nature reserves,
Sappi also maintains 160 Important Conservation Areas (ICAs) on its
Find out more at www.sappi.com/managing-for-biodiversity
#ForNature and check out the Forestry SA
site at https://bit.ly/3u6jpRM
You can also view this short video here