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      Biosphere Reserve Information

South Africa


  General Description   Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve, covering 2,474,700 hectares, is located in the north-east of South Africa. It encompasses the Kruger National Park as well as other National and Provincial Nature Reserves such as the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. Three of the Southern African biomes are incorporated into the biosphere reserve, including the grasslands and Afro-montane forests, and the savanna of the lowveld. There is a high level of biodiversity, especially plant endemism on mountain tops.
Approximately 1,5 1,6 million people live in the area (1996). Alongside the extensive tracts of conservation areas there are large, rural developing communities living on tribal land, where many of the natural resources have been over-utilized. There are a number of different land use practices in the region including mining for gold, phosphate and copper, the plantation of exotic species and the extensive cultivation of subtropical fruits and vegetables. It is hoped that through the establishment of the biosphere reserve framework and the establishment of partnerships, the quality of life can be improved for the majority of the people and that the integrity of the conservation areas will be secured. Local communities and authorities already have rallied together under the biosphere reserve framework to promote eco-tourism and the maintenance of cultural values.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical grasslands and savanna; Temperate grasslands; Mixed mountain and highland systems; Tropical dry and deciduous forest
  Major habitats & land cover types   North-eastern mountain Sourveld (montane grassland) including forest with Zanthoxylum davyi, Celtis africana, Podocarpus latifolius, etc. and Sourveld with dominant grass species such as Alloteropsis semialata, Aristida junciformis, Diheteropogon filifolius etc.; lowveld sour bushveld dominated by Acacia ataxacantha, A. caffra, A. sieberiana, Combretum collinum etc.; lowveld characterized by Acacia nigrescens, Sclerocarya birrea spp. caffra, Ziziphus mucronata etc.; arid lowveld with Sclerocarya birrea spp. caffra, Ziziphus mucronata, Cassia abbreviata, Steganotaenia araliacea etc.; mopani veld (savanna woodland) characterized by Acacia nigrescens, A. tortilis, Colophospermum mopane, Combretum apiculatum etc.; mixed bushveld (savanna woodland) including Acacia nigrescens, A. gerrardii, Albizia harveyii etc.; sourish mixed bushveld with Acacia caffra, A. karoo, A. robusta, Rhus guinezii etc.;
plantation forestry systems; headwater catchment area; pasture land; gold, phosphate and copper mining areas; game farming; agroecosystems; cultivations of subtropical fruits and vegetables; commercial forestry systems
  Location   2357'S; 3051'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   2,474,700
  Core area(s)   898,300
  Buffer zone(s)   476,400
  Transition area(s) when given   1,100,000
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +200 to +2,050
  Year designated   2001
  Administrative authorities   National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve Trust
  Brief description   Abiotic:
Biomonitoring of rivers including biological state of rivers, hydrology and geomorphology
Save the Sand river project (WRF's AWARD programme)
Development of monitoring protocols for Instream Flow Requirements (IFR) with the aim to establish biomonitoring methods (initial and long-term) for rivers
Research on the role of fire
Copper pollution
Ecotoxicological effect of airborne C2 chlorohydrocarbons and the deposition to the vegetation
Fire as a management tool
Vegetation monitoring
Impact of alien vegetation
Animal population counts including trends
Behavioural and ecological studies on animals
Impacts of elephants on woody plant diversity
Bird studies
Fish studies
Diseases in lion and buffalo populations
Effects of the closing of artificial water points
Predator-prey relationships
Herbaceous layer monitoring
Crocodile monitoring
National survey of medicinal qualities in plants
Reintroduction of species historically occurring in the reserve (giraffe, sable and roan)
Rare and endangered species monitoring
National frog atlas
Monitoring of the influence of different levels of grazing utilization
Long-term monitoring site
Impact of plant harvesting in communal lands
Sustainable yields of natural resources in communal lands
Community participation
Sustainable tourism development
Direct-use values of natural resources in communal lands
Human health (HIV/TB/stroke/mental disability/physical disability)
Human population demographics
Household income and wealth status (Agincourt)
Status of Mozambican refugees
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Acidic deposition/Acid rain, geomorphology, heavy metals, hydrology, meteorology, pollution, pollutants, toxicology/toxic substances.
  Biodiversity   Alien/Invasive/Exotic/Introduced species, amphibians, arid/semi-arid, biodiversity, birds, conservation, ecology, ethology, fauna, fires/fire ecology, fishes, freshwater/inland water, methodologies, natural medicinal products, natural resources, pests/diseases, plants, population genetics/population dynamics, rare/endangered/threatened species, reintroduction, reptiles, vegetation studies/plant cover, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Demography, human health, livestock and related impacts/overgrazing, local participation, monitoring methodologies, resource use, social/socio-economic aspects, tourism.
  Integrated monitoring   Impact and risk studies/Environmental impact, management issues, monitoring/methodologies, sustainable development/sustainable use.
  Contact address   Debby Thomson
Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve
P O Box 1180
1380 Hoedspruit
South Africa
  Telephone   (27) 15 795 5970
  Fax   (27) (0)86 515 5112

Last updated: 09/10/2007

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