The “Conservation Across Boundaries” (CAB) programme encourages stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds and with different expertise to work together towards the common goal of a healthy and functional Matobo Hills ecosystem. For example, ecologists may provide advice on how to manage livestock rangelands to optimise forage production and reduce impact on surface water, while social scientists assist subsistence communities to implement new approaches. All of DWT’s projects fit into the CAB framework.
The programme has two prongs: firstly, gathering information through research and consultation in order to identify conservation needs (including livelihood enhancement for people) and secondly, implementing appropriate mitigation and conservation measures to ensure long-term ecosystem health and sustainability. Focus is on the Matobo Hills, a 3,100 km2 area that comprises a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Cultural Landscape), Matobo National Park, private wildlife and tourism areas, commercial livestock farms and subsistence agro-pastoralist areas.
Why the Matobo Hills?
The Matobo Hills support a rich biodiversity and form an important catchment for the Shashe-Limpopo river system (one of the two main catchments in Zimbabwe). The vast majority of people living in the Hills are subsistence agro-pastoralists with a mean household monthly income of US$80, and a high proportion of households are woman- or child-headed, which often indicates high vulnerability and increased poverty (Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee Report, 2010). High poverty levels and unsound environmental practices frequently go hand-in-hand; the Matobo area is therefore a priority location for long-term, community-driven biodiversity management.
All projects carried out by DWT are linked with the Conservation Across Boundaries programme, with the aim to provide and locally-relevant solutions based on sound data to achieve the organisation’s mission
“To promote the furtherance of biological knowledge, the conservation of biodiversity, and the sustainable use of natural resources, while integrating conservation across boundaries in selected landscapes in Zimbabwe and adjacent countries”.