March 26, 2013

Insect conservation on farmland

The world is a magnificent place, containing a few million species and each of these species exists with a very specific purpose. The Western Cape is a species rich area and thus conservation has high priority. With the current human population growth there is ever increasing pressure on our natural resources. Our biodiversity provide us with a multitude of free services like controlling pests, and other processes that are vital for our existence. Species often face extinction and have to fight for survival but thanks to the efforts of conservation minded landowners in the Western Cape and our various conservation bodies, these species are not fighting the battle alone. Private landowners have the potential to make a big difference in ensuring the survival of species, since many of the remaining natural areas in the Western Cape are privately owned.

“Good farmers, who take seriously their duties as stewards of Creation and of their land’s inheritors, contribute to the welfare of society in more ways than society usually acknowledges, or even knows. These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.” ― Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

The University of Stellenbosch is using our member properties for research purposes to monitor insect conservation on farmland in the Western Cape. Their aim is to assess how the agricultural landscape can be managed and designed to promote the conservation of insects and their associated ecosystem services. The findings will be communicated to growers and land-owners, and they will make practical recommendations that will contribute to conservation efforts and land-use planning.

Up to date the Groenlandberg Conservancy, Paardeberg Conservancy, Honingklip farm and the Bottelary Hills Conservancy have made sites available for research purposes. If you are interested in participating by allowing students to do fieldwork on your farm, please contact us.

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