NWU celebrates a second biosphere reserve for North West
This is the Marico Biosphere – 44 000 hectares of supreme Africa landscape. An ecosystem that the North-West University (NWU) helped preserve.
Hundreds of community members and officials from the NWU and provincial government celebrated the launch of the second biosphere in North West. This is one of only 10 internationally recognised biospheres in the country.
The Marico Biosphere Reserve was officially launched at Phenyo Bothe Primary School in Groot Marico on 12 October 2018.
The NWU, together with a number of other industry partners teamed up to have the 440 000 hectares recognised and preserved as an international biosphere. The region was formally listed as a biosphere on 25 July 2018.
A biosphere reserve is an ecosystem with plants and animals of unusual scientific and natural interest which is internationally recognised within the framework of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) Man and Biosphere Programme. It aims to promote management, research and education in ecosystem conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Preserving the area
According to Prof Hendri Coetzee from the NWU’s Sustainability and Community Impact department, the Groot Marico region is a very important water catchment area. The Marico River is one of the few unpolluted rivers in South Africa and supplies the Moletele Dam, Gaborone (in Botswana) and the Limpopo River with water.
“The listing of the Groot Marico Biosphere is a great achievement for this province,” said Manketsi Tlaphi, MEC of the Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development. She also expressed her gratitude to all the stakeholders who played a crucial role in the listing of the area.
The first biosphere for the province is the Magaliesberg Biosphere that was designated by UNESCO in 2015. The North West province shares this with the Gauteng province.
Manketsi Tlaphi, MEC of the Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development, thanked all the stakeholders who played a crucial role in the listing of Marico Biosphere Reserve with UNESCO.