Plantations in Africa are set to expand at an unprecedented rate over the coming decades. NGP’s first study tour to Africa was a chance to explore some of the issues this raises, to share experiences, and to see what lessons we can learn from South Africa’s well-established plantation forest industry. The tour was hosted by Mondi and WWF-South Africa.
KwaZulu Natal is part of the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany global biodiversity hotspot – one of Earth’s most biologically rich but threatened regions. Rural areas suffer from high levels of poverty and unemployment, while the legacy of apartheid has left complex land ownership issues that are still in the process of being resolved.
Through a jam-packed programme of field visits and presentations, we saw how companies and conservationists are working together to manage plantations at a landscape scale, balancing production with protecting biodiversity and vital ecosystems like native grasslands and wetlands. We also saw various ways that companies such as Mondi are empowering communities and providing opportunities for economic development.
Around 40 people took part in the tour, including NGP participants, observer companies with plantation interests in Africa, representatives from several of WWF’s African offices, and other NGOs.