Based on World atlas information

5 mass extinction events have swept the earth in prehistoric times

Monumental loss of plant and animal species

This stretched from 440 million year ago to 65 million years ago

The causes of these extinctions where volcanic eruptions

Another cause was the impact from asteroid impacts

These forces where the origin of climate change

The sixth, plants and animals species are dying is the one we are in now

Human activities is the cause


Temperatures can reach levels where life on earth is difficult to sustain

Decreasing temperatures cause snow to accumulate en turn into ice

Large areas of ice turn into glaciers, which change the landscape of the earth

These periods is marked by glacial and interglacial periods.

The main impact is fluctuating sea levels below and above current levels

This stretched from 2.4 billion to 300m years ago

The earth is currently coming of a glacial period the Pleistocene


The Pleistocene lasted from 2.4 million years to 11700 thousand years ago

During the Pleistocene the current position of continents came into place

Enormous sheets of ice and glaciation occurred

The causes are linked to continental drift and the creation of mountains

The orbiting of the earth and the levels of solar activity reaching the earth

There were at least 20 cycles grouped in four classes of glaciation

Periods are cyclic in nature varying between 40 to 100 thousand years

Humans arrived about 2.4 million years ago


From the end of the last ice age of the Palaeolithic 27000 years ago to today

The last ice age retreated and vegetation begin to change

Agriculture started in the new temperature era about 8000 years ago

Domestication of cattle, goats and sheep started at the same time

Human population, 170 million, was based on natural ecosystems

From 1000 ad humans began to adapt the ecological constraints

The industrial revolution carried larger populations,1000 million

Habitat destruction has lead to the large increase in species extinction.

We are nearing the end of the HALOCENE


Ecosystems are created by the interaction of the biotic and abiotic.

Biotic are plants, animals and microbes and the abiotic air, water and soil.

Humans are a part of ecosystems and depends these services for survival.

There are 5 broad categories of ecosystem service.

    1: Biophysical

    2: Function

    3: Service

    4: Benefits

    5: Value



WWF has surveyed the threats to the natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystems and ecosystems services of the globe.

I have ranked them in importance in terms of my own experience.

The threat level depends on the impact on the ecosystems services of globe

         Infrastructure and land use

         Water resources


         Climate Change

         Over Fishing

         Wildlife Trade

         Oil and Gas and mining


         Soil Erosion


Believe that we are a part of the environment

There where many previous cycles of global warming and cooling

During the Halocene the impact of human became more influential

Humans led to the extinction of species and ecosystems became effected

Understand ecosystems and their development.

Understand ecosystem services

          These services are essential for human survival

          These services have human benefit

          These benefits have value

          The value is seen as out natural capital

All of our activities have an impact and threat to these services.

The four most critical threats to these services are.

           Infrastructure and land use changes

           Impact on water resources


           Climate change


Focus on ecosystem services

Request that the full pathway be acknowledged

This should include benefit and value

Focus on the four greatest threats to these services

That all planning recognise the five aspects of ecosystem services

Adapt all resource use to be managed as a service

When purchasing any product request its ecosystem services rating



My motivation for a life in conservation was based on people that inspired me and my passion for kayaking and exploration of wild places. This list of references from the past supported the establishment of principles that underpins my philosophy towards conservation and my professional life.

My first memory of wild landscapes comes from a reading of the book Jock of the Bushvelt written by the South African Sir Percy FitzPatrick introducing wild Africa and the life in the wilderness to my soul as an emotional experience and this initiated my life in conservation.

Towards the end of my school life I became interested in exploring rivers. After building a kayak I ran away from school and spent a week paddling down the Berg River through the farmlands of the Boland in the Western Cape. On rivers one is not exposed to development in the valleys, each turn and bend in the river introduces a new visual experience and leads you on, day after day. This enthusiasm also led to an interest in kayaking and connected me with Dr Ian Player the famous conservationist and canoeist of and of the DUSI canoe marathon and Rhino conservation fame. We became very good friends through conservation and served on the South African National Parks Board for many years together.

While studying for a degree in Architecture at Cape Town University I spent my free time going on kayak expeditions down various rivers in Africa, such the Orange, the Pongola, the Limpopo, the Sabi, the Okavango and the Cunene. These expeditions introduced me to the various landscapes of Africa. Prof Lester King the geologist and his book on ‘South African Scenery’ taught me the geological backdrop to landscapes and also the geomorphological process shaping the landscape of the rivers. The valleys, the rapids and the waterfalls all had a reason for being there and they assisted me in this understanding. Prof King was also one of the first to understand the concept of continental drift globally.

After completion of the degree in Architecture, I realized that my life in Africa directed me to further studies in Landscape Architecture. I met Dr John Phillips, one of the first ecological thinkers and scientists. Dr Phillips supported Smuts in writing the influential book by Jan Smuts on ‘Holism and evolution’, one of the first publications on ecology ever. DR John Phillips suggested and arranged a scholarship to complete my Masters at the University of Pennsylvania in Landscape Architecture in 1973 with Prof Ian McHarg of the ‘Design with Nature’ fame. The basis of his teaching is that nature knows best and that the planner should be able to see and understand natural forces before planning within the constraints of nature. /

Coming back to South Africa, I started to teach at the University of Pretoria in the Department of Landscape Architecture in January 1995. I became involved in GIS as a planning tool and developed the first South African GIS programs in Fortran. The basis to my approach was the same as that of Ian McHarg and the department of Landscape Architecture and its students became disciples of this approach to planning.

During this time I met up with Dr. Ken Tinley an ecologist from Natal and he became my mentor and introduced me to the Science of Ecology, based on the sequential understanding of all the components of Nature, driven by the importance of salient features. We spent many days together in the wilderness and produced a number of original planning studies for such as those for Maputuland, Pilanesberg Gorongoza in southern Africa.
During the year 2000, Dr Anton Rupert requesting a visit to Stellenbosch and an offer to develop and run the Peace Parks Foundation contacted me. This changed my life and for the next 10 years, I focused on the concept of conservation across boundaries. The boundaries of nature and that drawn by politicians are never the same and ecosystems should be managed across the boundaries. This philosophy was the driving force behind Dr. Rupert’s focus for the last period of his life. He had restructured his companies and handed control of his empire to his son Dr. Johann Rupert, he focused only on conservation and the creation of a network of Peace Parks in Southern Africa and the world.

He introduced his friend President Mandela to this philosophy and in turn all the presidents of the SADC countries supporting the establishment of these parks. With the weight of the politician support behind the foundation it grew quickly and with the sufficient funding support became one the most influential NGO’s in conservation. During this period of development of the Foundation we met often and once I was fortunate to accompany him to his farm in the Transkei, flying in the presidential jet, discussing landscapes.

One day I received a call from a Sir Richard Branson, at first I did not believe that it was his voice but after a while his enthusiasm and interest in our foundation led to our friendship and he joined the foundation as a patron. His enthusiasm for conservation and for the trans-transfrontier ideal was infectious. He introduced the idea of surrounding one with people more skilled than yourself and that became our philosophy.

Jack Dangermond from ESRI is the greatest figure in GIS and under his development of ARCINFO became the most powerful software in planning and management. It changed the science of Ecosystems and the methodology of research. His visit to the Kruger National Park and the Peace Park Foundation and the viewing for our 3d software gave me the Presidents reward at the conference in San Diageo during 2008. The science of GIS is still today the anchor platform of the foundation.

INSPIRATION behind my approach: Humanity needs nature, but nature does not need us. We receive provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural service from the environment we live in. These ecosystem values and benefits are known as ecosystem services (ESS). These services are not always visible or understood, but our survival depends on their protection . They are best managed through a network of protected areas of various classes and tenure that transcend international boundaries.

Conservation through National Parks was originally developed in the USA to protect scenic values and features. Later on the value of tourism was realised and developed to utilize and support conservation Today, the protection of natural resources through the ESS approach, has expanded initiatives beyond park borders to the surrounding landscapes and the people that sustain themselves from the natural services they provide. The ESS approach has proven to be more successful in motivating and inspiring conservation inside and outside protected areas. My journey of the last 50 years has inspired me to talk about and demonstrate the invaluable lessons I learnt and make it available to partners and participants in this most important action of mankind.

The thin red line approach to the storyline. The concept of the thin red line of logic is used to tie the thoughts together. The basis for the thinking is that each step in the process of understanding is logical and leads to an understanding of the next step. This is a crucial principle in providing insight into a complex process.


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Through the use of GIS layers and theIr boundaries as planning instruments this exercise illustrates how a simple procedure leads to an understanding of the environment and ecosystem services. This procedure was tested in the conceptual planning of the Kimbi Fungom National Park in Cameroon.


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Introduction: The Great Lakes region of Central Africa has some of the richest biodiversity on earth but also experiences political instability. Managers of three protected areas, separated geographically but linked by their ecology and problems, are working together to develop a transboundary initiative in the framework of the IUCN Peace Parks Initiative in the Great Lakes region. The protected areas are: Kibira National Park: Burundi (IUCN Category IV, 40,000 ha) Virunga National Park: Democratic Republic of Congo (IUCN Category II, 780,000 ha) Volcanoes National Park: Rwanda (IUCN Category II, 15,000 ha)


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This story map illustrates the most useful initial data sets and the correlation with the TBCA clusters on the Globe. It is clear from these maps that nearly all of these clusters have been isolated from each other due to land use changes and infrastructure development adjacent to roads. These clusters will soon become centres of ecosystems services and biodiversity as the natural environment surrounding them are damaged. The Map view is live and all of the datasets is available to be switched on or off depending the needs for information. This Map View illustrates the best use of the Map View technology.


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This story map illustrates the most useful initial data sets and the correlation with the TBCA clusters on the Globe. It is clear from these maps that nearly all of these clusters have been isolated from each other due to land use changes and infrastructure development adjacent to roads. These clusters will soon become centres of ecosystems services and biodiversity as the natural environment surrounding them are damaged. The Map view is based on the use of Jpg images of the original maps and is not live. Satellite images are used in the legend to illustrate the region. Various datasets have been used to illustrate each of the clusters in a different environment. The usefulness of these are for use at various scales.

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All though it is the public perception that the concept of Transboundary conservation started in Southern Africa with the creation of the Peace Parks Foundation many other countries has also become involved and two IUCN based studies illustrated the extent to which this concept has developed. This Story Map illustrates the wide regional distribution of these types of land use. The recent discussions of Facebook and information from the IUCN on the enormous environmental impact of the global growth in infra structure as well as mining and the de proclamation of many of the community based hunting areas makes this kind of mapping very relevant. Our wilderness areas are becoming isolated with less and less corridors in-between. Enjoy reviewing African conservation.

As a member of the Transboundary Conservation Specialist Subgroup of the IUCN I am developing a Conservation Atlas for use by TBCA specialists. During the development phase I am being assisted by a small number of skilled people in this endeavor. For now, this will be a closed group, and we are testing the first phase of the Atlas on a small number of TBCAs. I will expand this group once some more development has taken place.

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Story maps is one of the most usefull tools to illustrate the advantages of the WEBgis this specific story map gives you access to a number of the most usefull data sets and it also allows you to change to the area of the globe that you are interested in and you can zoom in to your specific concervation area. This story map is indeed a very powerful tool. That is not clear initialy when it is opened.


DMZ Meeting with Ted Turner CNN

DMZ Meeting with Ted Turner CNN

The Demilitarized zone is a strip of land between north and South Korea app. 4 km wide and 250km long. Due to the strong barrier fencing and the presence of a vast number of military from both sides, the landscape remains undisturbed for many years. During 2004 Dr Nelson Mandela, during a visit to South Korea, mentioned the idea of a Peace Park for the DMZ to the government in the South Korea. Later that year Prof Willem van Riet travel to South Korea to make a presentation at a conference on the idea of conservation area for the DMZ and some draft planning work he had completed. The concept was to expand the existing conservation areas in South Korea into a link across the DMZ into North Korea to form a conservation and tourism area in the north and to anchor the rest of the DMZ to this block. Other delegates at the conference in Seoul also mention the undisturbed status of the ecosystem due to absolute lack of any presence of people inside the 4 km strip of land stretching 250 km from south to north. We also met with the governor of the province bordering on the DMZ as well as Mr Ted Turner and spent two days traveling along the DMZ inspecting the landscape. Later that year I was called to a surprize visit to South African foreign affairs office for a meeting with a delegation to South Africa from North Korea. They had expressed an interest in this idea and wanted to enquire about the work we had done. They invited Prof van Riet and a South African delegation to visit the area but that did not materialise. After retiring from the Peace Parks Foundation I still retained strong interest in this concept and would really liked to play a part in the revitalization of this dream. I cannot think a more powerfull event to popularize the idea of Transboundary Conservation in the honour of Dr Nelson Mandela.

Click on the Images to enlarge.


Northern Mountains

Northern Mountians

View from the South-East and Seoel

View fromthe Southeast and Seoel

View from the North-East

View from the north east

Land cover

Land Cover



DeLorme base map and Conservation area

DeLorme base map and Conservation area

The last placing is the overview of the story line that as developed for the Global Atlas. It is similar in nature to the first three blogs but ads the three-dimensional aspect of making use of the Web GIS. Each of the paragraphs in the story line has been illustrated by a 3D view of conservation area making use of Map Scene. It has amazed me how real these scenes have become while making these images available to environmental planning. The lack of maps with any article on conservation or conservation planning always disturbs me no matter how scientifically correct. The addition of the three dimensional nature of the landscape brings about a much greater understanding of the landscape.

A number of pages with the story line has been included below:

Storyline Conservation Atlas 1Storyline Conservation Atlas 2Storyline Conservation Atlas 3

As a member of the Transboundary Subcommittee of the IUCN I submitted an article to the magazine on the function and role of the atlas. I would like to make use of this article to introduce the atlas in more detail.

Please review the article in full-page format below. To view the complete magazine click here.

Transboundary Final Article Design

During the initial stages of Transboundary Conservation Area (TBCA) planning, the planners often do not have access to appropriate geographical maps. Maps are a living, tri-dimensional source of knowledge—a map represents thousands of words.

Is it possible to develop a Global Atlas with selected data that would allow focus on identified conservation areas in the UNEP-IUCN WCPA’s World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) as a functional conservation planning tool during the initial phases of TBCA development?

The Transboundary Conservation Foundation made an experiment to test the usefulness of such a Global Conservation Atlas. This was accomplished through a conservation grant from ESRI and in cooperation with UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC).

At the core of the Atlas is the use of bookmarks of any of the selected polygons or conservation areas in the WDPA as a zooming tool to illustrate all of the selected datasets in the database in and surrounding the identified conservation area.

Central to the Atlas was the use of a web based GIS technology accessible via ESRI and its Living Atlas of the World.

During the next few days I will be placing introductory information on the concept and ways and means for this tool to become useful to a wider range of people.


A brilliant atlas illustrating the airflow and wind direction in any geographic position. It is updated every three hours and leads to many other climatic events, which are so critical to understanding natural processes. Have fun with this every day of the year. It is the fastest of all natural processes.…


National Geographic has developed this atlas of our next real live ecosystem service crisis, that of Water. The way we use water depends on rain falling on the various catchment basins of the continents. These boundaries do nor often coincide with country boundaries and therefore transboundary management is essential. Have a look at what should have been international boundaries of the nations of world.…/global-water-f…/


This atlas from Global Forest Watch illustrates the impact of man on the forests of the globe. When reviewing the ecosystems services derived from these forests, one can only be depressed about where we are going. It is once again a question of supply and demand to understand the reasons for the destruction. There are many data sets that can be studied as well as zooming into various countries.…/…/ALL/grayscale/loss/612…

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