The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere reserve is South Africa’s 7th biosphere reserve and was approved by UNESCO on 9th June 2015. It is globally unique as it is the only area where three recognized biodiversity hotpots, Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Subtropical Thicket hotspots converge.
18 of the Gouritz Biosphere’s conservation areas was designated as World Heritage Sites which are recognised as being of Outstanding Universal Value.
The biosphere reserve consists of three zones.
- Core Areas – these areas include land that is legally protected
- Buffer Areas – other mostly natural areas where sustainable utilization of natural products or veld can be accommodated
- Transition Areas - the land where most people live and work.
Focus and priority projects
- Restoration of degraded landscapes while creating employment.
- Smaller projects to support sustainable livelihoods in urban and rural areas
- Promoting enterprises that benefit the environment and simultaneously ensure socio-economic gains
- Enviromental education focussed on schools and the youth
- Collaboration with local and global research initiatives, including archaeological studies along the coastline
- Assessment of innovative ways of financing the restoration of degraded land.
Uniondale is the Eastern Gateway to the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere.