unenvironment-Win-win for people and planet: smart shepherding in South Africa
The Karoo, in South Africa, is a harsh environment in which to make a living out of agriculture—the area is mostly devoid of surface water. Its name is derived from the Khoisan word meaning “land of thirst”.
The land was traditionally used by pastoralists but drought, overgrazing and predation by wild animals made this activity precarious. Predators were kept in check by fencing, traps, poisons and hunting. South Africa is one of the most fenced places on Earth, with huge impacts on biodiversity and animal movements.
Now, a new pilot initiative covering about 25,000 hectares and using shepherds, has succeeded in increasing production of rangeland lamb and beef while simultaneously restoring vegetation and fostering biodiversity.
Fair Game is a partnership between the Landmark Foundation, the National Department of Environmental Affairs and the UN Environment Programme, funded by the Global Environment Facility, the Development Bank of South Africa and a local philanthropist. It is unique in using human herders on large commercial livestock farms.