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Toyota supports Peace Parks Foundation

31 July 2008

The establishment of transfrontier conservation areas is an exemplary process of partnerships between governments and the private sector. While the main players are the relevant governments and their conservation agencies, donors and NGOs have also greatly contributed towards their creation. TFCAs comprise the area or component of a large ecological region that straddles the boundaries of two or more countries, encompassing one or more protected areas as well as multiple resource use areas, including biosphere reserves and a wide range of community based natural resource management programmes.

Part of Peace Parks Foundation's programme to facilitate sustainable conservation is the identification of long-term income flows. Payment for ecosystem services, particular climate regulation through land rehabilitation, avoided deforestation and fire management has been identified by the Foundation, in partnership with the conservation agencies of the relevant partner countries, as such an income stream.

A vital component of Peace Parks Foundation's objectives is to develop programmes that provide a reasonable alternative to deforestation and continued land-degradation with communities living adjacent to the parks. Rural subsistence communities, especially in remote areas, are reliant on their immediate surroundings for food, energy and water, where continued environmental degradation forms part of the poverty trap. Rural communities are also disproportionately exposed to the risks of climate change due to a lack of capacity to adapt and change their livelihood.

The intention of Peace Parks Foundation is to facilitate the development of economic drivers through climate change mitigation and adaptation programmes that would effectively reduce deforestation in parks and surrounding areas, maintain/restore ecosystem services, provide alternative livelihoods and ensure the long-term viability of conservation areas.

An essential part of the programme is the quantification and long-term monitoring of biomass, ecosystem services and soil quality over an area totalling 60 million hectares across protected areas of Southern Africa - perhaps one the largest ecological programmes of its type in the world. To tackle this Herculean task, Peace Parks Foundation is using a combination of state-of-the-art satellite technologies together with an extensive ground monitoring exercise.

Toyota is playing a key role in the ground monitoring exercise, which will be undertaken across southern Africa. As the assessment crews will be operating in remote areas for long periods of time, the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser was the vehicle of choice for the operation. Peace Parks Foundation would like to thank Toyota for their vision in seizing the opportunity to be part of this groundbreaking work by donating two vehicles to the Foundation's team to execute their fieldwork and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.

Visit the following site for more information on the fabulous Toyota Land Cruiser:

http://www.toyota.co.za/models/viewrange.aspx?id=lc_station_wagon

A unique project focusing on supporting conservation students and their management on their "home turf" and to identify and address needs hampering conservation management in Southern Africa. The project is in association with the Southern Africa Wildlife College, Game Rangers Association of Africa and Peace Parks Foundation.

The outreach is led by Gerhard Groenewald of Klipbokkop Mountain Resort and sponsored by Toyota South Africa.

For more information on this exciting venture, go to http://www.conservationoutreach.co.za/