Banhine National Park, Climate Change, Community, Community Development, Conservation, Great Limpopo TFCA, Herding 4 Health, Limpopo National Park, Mozambique, Partnerships, TFCAs, Veterinary Health

CI and Peace Parks Commit to Restoring 20 Million Hectares of Nature in Africa

Landmark Investment Announced at Africa Climate Week to Drive Sustainable Grazing and Climate Resilience Across the Continent

NAIROBI, Kenya (Sept. 5, 2023) – Conservational International (CI) and Peace Parks Foundation (Peace Parks), in collaboration with Indigenous pastoralists, Civil Society Organisations, and the private sector have announced an ambitious plan to restore 20 million hectares of degraded rangelands at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi today.  This is to demonstrate and scale up the Herding for Health model- a climate smart grazing approach for managing and restoring grasslands, savannah and shrublands across Africa. Funding has been made possible through the generous support of partners and donors.

In Limpopo National Park, Herding for Health is supporting pastoralists to secure their livelihoods against climate impacts, as well as the health of their herds and their families through a One Health approach.

Addressing Ecosystem Degradation, Climate Change and Livelihoods

Grasslands, savannah and shrublands comprise over half of the Earth’s terrestrial surface, two-thirds (62%) of which are found across Africa.  These ecosystems are integral to the livelihoods of an estimated 50 million pastoralists and indirectly support at least 200 million people. However, approximately 700 million hectares of these ecosystems are degraded, threatening water catchment, carbon sequestration, and community livelihoods.

This kind of collaboration is the best way to achieve goals and maintain the ecosystems that for, 200,000 years, have sustained life across the African continent. The carbon sequestration potential of Africa’s healthy grasslands, savannah and shrublands ecosystems is equivalent to the carbon sink value of the entire Amazon rainforest. Even though they store vast amounts of irrecoverable carbon, provide livelihood opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people and are culturally significant to pastoralist communities, current conservation efforts in these ecosystems are low.  The investment by CI and Peace Parks aims to change that.

Suzanne Ngo-Eyok, Conservation International Senior Vice President, Africa
Eco rangers, volunteer herders and pastoralists are working together to maximise the success of their own local Herding for Health initiatives.

Proven Strategies for Restoration and Resilience

The program will build on successful conservation strategies across transboundary landscapes in East and Southern Africa, most notably in the Kavango Zambezi , the Great Limpopo, the Mara-Serengeti and Tsavo-Mkomazi, to advance the wellbeing of communal livestock farmers, rebuild ecosystem resilience and sequester carbon in some of the world’s most climate vulnerable areas.

Herding for Health is now operational across 2.5 million hectares in 16 locations and six countries throughout Southern Africa. This programme contains all the elements to ensure conservation impact at scale which is at the heart of Peace Parks’ 2030 Strategy by enabling healthy landscapes, healthy livestock, healthy communities and coexistence between people and wildlife.

Werner Myburgh, CEO at Peace Parks Foundation
The Herding for Health model is already bringing rich restoration benefits, with traditional practices and rotational grazing contributing, through improved landscape health, to greater biodiversity in the regions where the programme is active. Banhine National Park’s grasslands and savannah support a growing wealth of species.

Five-Year Goals and Monitoring

The initiative aims to achieve the following in the next five years:

  • Expand the Herding 4 Health model to seven million hectares in East and southern Africa
  • Address ecosystem degradation and restore resilience through conservation stewardship and green job creation
  • Address social equity by unlocking finance opportunities for sustainable, wildlife-friendly grazing
  • Support pastoralists to secure their livelihoods against climate impacts, as well as the health of their herds and their families through a One Health approach
  • Establish mechanisms to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of H4H sites and catalyze the uptake of the model across the continent

A monitoring platform will be established to track ecosystem and socio-economic improvements, offering insights into degradation threats including fire, bush encroachment, invasive plant species and soil erosion. These data will inform future rangeland restoration initiatives across Africa.


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