Conserving biodiversity in
Royal Jozini

Reserve management is aimed primarily at the conservation of the natural biodiversity of the area. In this context “conservation” is used in the sense of the wise and sustainable use of natural resources. As will be seen from the other content pages such as Flora and Birdlife, Royal Jozini has a wide range of geological and topographic features. This leads to a similar high diversity of habitat types, which in turn allows for the carrying of a complex diversity of game and bird species. Reserve management entails the balancing of this complexity to accommodate and optimise the various aspects of the reserve’s activities, including conservation, development, tourism, and economic sustainability.

environmental team

The ecological aspects of management are primarily conducted by the on-site management team and are advised by Reynolds Environmental Services (RES), a small family-owned consultancy with a team that has a combined 65-plus years of suitable experience in protected areas, ecological and environmental management. The consultancy provides services by means of biannual fieldwork visits, aimed primarily at game population assessments and vegetation condition surveys are conducted, from the results of which stocking rates and annual carrying capacities are calculated. From these, the respective annual management activities and programs are planned and recommendations made, and then RES provides reports, ongoing remote, advice and guidance where necessary.

management practices

Management activities include (but are not necessarily limited to) annual firebreak preparation and controlled burning programs to achieve specific vegetation goals, game population management programs to ensure that the overall stocking rates are within the short-term carrying capacity of the respective suitable habitat types, and that the species mix is kept in ratios suitable to utilising the full spectrum of feed available. 

The feed availability varies in relation to the preceding season’s rainfall and this is used as a basis for consideration in the calculation of carrying capacities.  Other options of vegetation manipulation such as selective bush clearing, and water availability distribution are also used where considered appropriate.

Other considerations are the control of invasive alien species, aimed at the preservation of the indigenous biodiversity.  These operations can be very time and resource-consuming and, as such, need to be carefully monitored and selectively applied.