Their aim is to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science. South Africa boasts a total of six biospheres. This set of stamps (self-adhesive) and two commemorative envelopes celebrates the beauty and value of these special biomes.
Print quantity: 15 000 sheets
source: South African Post
(Groot Drakenstein Mts.)
Designated in 2007, the biosphere is located in the Western Cape Province approximately 40 km east of Cape Town. It extends from the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve in the south, northwards along the Cape Fold Belt mountain chain and the adjoining valleys constituting the Cape Winelands. The reserve incorporates key portions of the registered Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site.
The biosphere is home to approximately 330 000 people. It is characterised by a mosaic of diverse ecosystems and physiographic environments. Various land-uses and human settlement patterns is associated with the world-renowned Cape Winelands landscape. The area includes an array of historic towns, hamlets and farmsteads.
The Waterberg biosphere in Limpopo lies in the northern reaches of South Africa, covering an area of some 400000 ha featuring large areas of unspoiled wilderness and open spaces. Designated in 2009, it is an important catchment area for the Limpopo Basin, with four large rivers originating within its borders - the Lephalale, the Mokolo, the Matlabas and the Magalakwena Rivers.
It features unique rock formations, a result of the steep terrain, sandstone base rock and high rainfall in some areas. Its high level of biological diversity includes many Red Data and orange listed species, as well as endemic species. The main economic driver is tourism.
Cape West Coast Biosphere
This biosphere was first designated in 2000, with a further extension designated in 2003. Known for its mosaic of diverse ecosystems and habitats; including marine, beach and frontal dune environments, pans, wetlands and rocky outcrops, the Cape West Coast Biosphere starts in Cape Town in the southern suburb of Diep River and stretches up the west coast as far as the Berg River.
Also encompassing parts of the Cape Floral Region, the reserve includes the Ramsar-protected Langebaan Lagoon as well as Dassen Island, a penguin colony. The Koeberg nuclear power station falls within its boundaries. The main economic activities are fishing and agriculture.
Kruger to Canyons Biosphere
Covering 2 474 700 hectares, Kruger to Canyons was designated in 2001. So named because it stretches from the Kruger National Park to the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, it is an important conservation area in South Africa since three of the Southern African biomes are incorporated into the reserve, including the grasslands and Afro-montane forests, and the savanna of the Lowveld. There is a high level of biodiversity, especially endemic plants on the mountain tops.
The economy revolves around mining activities, forestry, and fruit and vegetable farming.
Local communities and authorities have already rallied together under the biosphere framework to promote ecotourism and the maintenance of cultural values.
Situated in the Western Cape, within 40 km from Cape Town, Kogelberg biosphere was designated in 1998 and covers 103 629 hectares. More than 80% consists of mountainous landscape with high mountain peaks, deep valleys, gentle hills and lower mountain slopes. The remainder consists of rolling coastal plains and marine areas. The coastline is mostly rocky with some sandy beaches and estuaries.
Kogelberg is the floristic heart of the smallest of the world’s floral kingdoms, the Cape floral kingdom. It provides a habitat for approximately 1 600 plant taxa of which an estimated 150 are endemic to the area and characteristic of the Fynbos biome.
Designated in 2009, the reserve has a remarkable diversity of ecosystems, species and cultural resources. It includes the northern part of the Kruger National Park, the Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site, and part of two transfrontier parks. The Soutpansberg is recognised as a centre of endemic species and biodiversity and forms part of one of the priority areas for conservation in South Africa. Lake Fundudzi in the Soutpansberg Mountains is the only natural inland lake in Southern Africa. Several wetlands in the same mountain range contain peat holding information going back 12 000 years BP (before present). The reserve is unique in having a University within its borders.
(text: South African Post)