Healthy cows and vibrant grasslands: Conservation biology and livelihood sustainability in the Eastern Cape
Despite a rich pool of natural resources, the rural Eastern Cape, South Africa high poverty, hunger, and unemployment. Poor agricultural management has degraded the region’s ample grazing land and this biodiversity hotspot is being overtaken by invasive species. The Ecoranger Project seeks to expand the impact of an innovative model for livestock production in the Eastern Cape – one that promotes conservation, protects biodiversity, and supports healthy animals and healthy communities.
The goals of the Ecoranger project are to:
(1) Reach over 60 households and ensure that they benefit, either from income generation, increased livestock conception rates, or additional time available for other economic activities from collective herding
(2) Ensure that over 1000 ha of high biodiversity rangelands are under improved rangeland management
(3) Hire four or more individuals as Ecorangers, who will benefit from new skills and income from employment
(4) Capture and share lessons learned from the Ecoranger program with other provinces at risk of rangeland degradation, and water/food shortages.
Current environmental degradation and high poverty rates in the Eastern Cape, South Africa require re-envisioning how humans interact with the environment to develop sustainably and simultaneously tackle food and water security challenges. The EcoRanger Project aims to combine traditional herding knowledge with new technology and environmental skills to improve the health and well-being of rural farmers while preserving the environment and bettering livelihoods. Currently operational in two landscapes, one in Northern Cape and one in the highlands of the Eastern Cape, CSA is seeking additional funding to initiate an EcoRanger program with community-based farming organizations in the Kumanzimdaka region of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. By supporting community knowledge sharing along with sustainable meat production the Ecoranger program uses a partner-based approach and enhance broader understanding of the role herding can plan in improving landscapes and livelihoods.
Our primary mission is to unleash the potential of impoverished and marginalized rural communities to create their own economic opportunities and environmental well-being in order to achieve reliable prosperity and resilience; one village at a time.
We are actively seeking funding for this project. For more information, please see our Project Details document for the EcoRanger program.