Highlighting the career of Prof Willem van Riet, directing innovative conservation initiatives in Africa, illustrating his experiences and approach through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

An all-inclusive approach to conservation was instigated by numerous adventures on wild rivers in the 60’s and developed through academic research at Universities in Philadelphia (USA) and Pretoria (South Africa). GIS software, data and processes were harnessed throughout his career in support of planning, scientific analyses and fundraising.  Projects and programmes will be illustrated through a number themes. This approach was implemented during his years on the SANParks Board and on transboundary initiatives in Southern Africa during his 10 years as the CEO of the Peace Parks Foundation. Recently he has functioned as a consulted through the Swedish entity (Transboundary Conservation Foundation).

"I hope that the review of these conservation projects, as a journey of discovery through the use of GIS and maps, will be of assistance to conservation development in many parts of the world. I would like to iterate that the content of this site reflects my own personal point of view and is based on my personal experiences."

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 06:46

4 - Water Crisis in India

Water is one of the most easily understood of all the ecosystems services nature provides for human kind. The fact that the management of catchments basins and the mountains that provides this resource is a crucial ecosystem services activity, is not so obvious. This article makes it very clear that the limiting effect of reduced ecosystem services that originates from the upper catchments is arriving now not in the future.

A point of view that I have been promoting for some time is that the protection of ecosystems services should receive higher priority when deciding on the allocating of land for conservation purposes. Pure biodiversity arguments will not hold water when the crisis arrives like it is now arriving in India.

A frightening picture of the future is sketched in this article.

For review of a South African illustration have a look at the previous blog about the Nzelele catchment basin in the Limpopo province.

This was personally one of the most interesting projects I have ever worked on. The planning for the Makhado Mine for Coal of Africa required a review of the Vhembe Biosphere reserve as well as the Nzhelele catchment basin and their ecosystem services. This review of all the mapped information was placed on a map composition in a sequence that would follow a thin red line of logic in one single map poster. It will require some detailed study by zooming in on each of the maps on the poster but will reveal the vast amount of information these maps contain. (see the download link at the end of this article for the full size version)