The process of conservation
An article by JJ Decker - Farm Manager on Kilima Private Game Reseve and Spa
The South African veld types are extremely diverse in terms of botanical composition, dry matter production potential and therefore nutritive value. The seasonal variation in diet selection and herbage intake of cattle and sheep and the effects on animal performance is well documented.
Cattle are bulk grazers and reliant on the accessibility to sufficient grazing throughout the year. On a cattle farm the most important constraint on animal production from pastures, appears to be an insufficient intake of digestible nutrients in relation to the animal’s requirements.
Plains and rare game species have adapted to utilize the various types of grazing and or browsing available to them on a seasonal basis in a highly dynamic and sufficient way. In nature the buffalo is a bulk grass feeder but the sable or reedbuck is a very selective grass feeder. The impala is a mix feeder that will utilize the abundance of grass in the wet season but change to browsing in the dry season. As browsers the bushbuck or giraffe needs only trees and scrub to survive throughout the year. A wildebeest will harvest short grass whereas a roan discriminate against it.
Nature has adapted to ensure sustainability and harmony to conserve itself. But what does the term nature conservation actually define when humans are involved? Is it just a process or requirement to protect the natural environment from the destructive nature and needs of human beings? Is nature conservation the magic word used in ecotourism that can be exploited to tick the boxes as the ultimate wildlife experience destination and guest satisfaction or is it just a magic word or phrase such as “peace" used by so-called peace loving nations whom are continuously at war?
In Japan it is recognized that“nature not only has a role in providing resources for economic activities, but that nature in and of itself is an essential element for the enrichment of human life.” It forms the foundation of people’s lives in diverse ways. Is it even possible to have harmony between human activity and nature when the process is controlled by human nature? Does the natural environment really stand a change when it comes to human activity?
At Kilima Private Game Reserve and Spa the process to sustain and achieve harmony was introduced by ensuring that the primary objective for wildlife management is to conserve a wide diversity of indigenous animal species on the reserve without causing a long-term deterioration in the veld condition resulting from human activity, accelerated soil loss, bush encroachment or an unfavorable shift in the grass species composition and/or cover. Secondary the objective is for human activity to adapt to the natural environment and honor rather than abuse resources.