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."

The concept of ecosystem services and its value to society has been touched upon a number of times in my website.

The principles behind this approach were established by the study on the SADC ecosystem services component of the Millennium development goals by Scholes and Biggs. De Groot and others took it onto the global scale in their global study on the value of ESS and its financial implications.

Click here for the pdf: Benefits of Forest Ecosystems in Zambia and the role of REDD+ in a green economy transformation

I also illustrated the mapping of Ecosystem services (ESS) on an SADC wide, South Africa and world heritage sites such as the Vhembe biosphere reserve.