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."

We have become so used to the fact that man made structures can be proclaimed as historical monuments if ISIS does not destroy them. This article on the termites is fascinating.

During a period of working with a mining company on developing new methods of dealing with environmental impact, through identifying ecosystem services as the measure of the environmental impact, I often used the structure and functionality of in a termite mound as en example of ecological efficiency. When measured against the challenges a mine is facing when working underground these termites are amazing.

That their structures are now found to be long living and have survived over many years refocuses my attention onto these wonderful animals. In the era of only looking at large species these small species are often forgotten. In terms of biomass, termites are seen to be one of the most important species on earth.

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