The Nuwejaars Wetland SMA is rehabilitating its
key areas and cultural features.More
Enhancing the wellbeing of all who live here is an
imperative for the SMA. More
Our tourism venture will include training for
operators and entrepreneurs. More
Production and food security is enhanced through
sustainable use of land. More
Sustainably-utilised products will prove a key
economic driver for communities here. More
By developing the SMA's infrastructure, we can
unlock the area's sustainable capital. More
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) is an area in which 25 private landowners and local communities
work together to collectively manage our land for conservation.
Through this unique conservation model, some 46,000 hectares of often critically endangered habitat is now protected on
the Agulhas Plain - at the southernmost region of Africa. The primary goal of the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management
Area (SMA) is to protect - and use - the land included in the Special Management Area sustainably, according to triple
bottom line principles. We aim to find the balance between environmental integrity, human wellbeing and economic
efficiency within the area.
While biodiversity and wetland conservation is promoted, so too are sustainable farming practices. As such, farming and
conservation work hand in hand. Endangered plants and animals are protected. At the same time, food security from
farmland in the Nuwejaars Wetland Ecosystem is not threatened.
This collaboration between landowners and local communities is the first of its kind in South Africa. It required significant
commitments from all landowners and communities involved. All had to agree to title deed restrictions to ensure
sustainable conservation principles would be maintained. Already the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organisation (UNESCO) has expressed its interest in the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA), as a working
example of its Man and the Biosphere programme.
- Restore wetlands and other
often-threatened habitat through
rehabilitation and alien-clearing;
- Promote the wellbeing of all who live within
the broader area;
- Promote the sustainable use of biodiversity
products to benefit all;
- Promote diverse uses of the wetlands,
natural habitats and intensive agricultural
- Promote sustainability in all forms of
- Manage the land and manage fire;
- Address climate change;
- And encourage tourists to visit the Agulhas
Plain's unique sites.
Maintaining the SMA's game fences is no mean feat -
but Joey and his team do the most amazing job, even
when it takes balance to not end up in the water.
Thanks, Joey and your team, for all the hard work!
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Four buffalo belonging to the Nuwejaars
Wetland Special Management Area have
been sold. The Nuwejaars Wetland Special
Management Area (SMA) reintroduced the
buffalo to the Agulhas Plain for the first
time in more than 200 years. Now, with
their numbers steadily increasing, the
Agulhas Plain has once again become a
source of disease-free buffalo.
The sale also marked an important occasion
for conservation-minded organisations such
as the Nuwejaars Wetland SMA. It
highlighted the steps taken towards
securing a sustainable income from
biodiversity-based products, through for
example game management.
Great news for the SMA - we now have 7 hippos in our
wetlands (which included what looked like a very young
calf). Until now we've only managed to count 6 hippos. The
hippos were reintroduced to rehabilitate the SMA's wetland
channels and rehydrate the peat - and the signs are good
that they're succeeding.
Buffalo sale on the Agulhas Plain
The Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management
Area and partners undertook a management
burn on the SMA this past week, burning
around 410 hectares of limestone fynbos. The
fynbos was between 25 and and 30 years old,
and therefore in need of a prescribed burn.
Experts suggest fynbos should be burnt
around every 15 years, depending on the type
of fynbos. Much of the fynbos was also
infested with invasive alien plants.
Livestock and bee hives were moved prior to
the fire. And invasive alien plant
management will now be prioritised
subsequent to the fire.