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."

Sunday, 18 January 2015 19:21

2 - Conservation Theory

Planetary Boundaries

The discussion about the impact on the global ecological situation is based on the impact of humans on this earth. When looking at the map of the footprint on Africa the extent of this is very clear. Most of the high land use densities are linked to infrastructure and transport corridors.

This is an enormous subject and as a form of land use, conservation is becoming more and more relevant. As a background to the more detailed discussions of conservation areas and specific projects I wish to discuss the theory behind the concept of protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services as the motivation for the idea of conservation.

There are a growing number of projects and organizations focussing on the global situation, as well as the role and function of the global ecosystem and the importance of the earth as a home for humans.