By Zimkita Mavumengwana

In a significant advancement for biodiversity conservation, South Africa has officially identified 263 terrestrial Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). These sites, approved by the KBA Secretariat, are searchable on the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas (WDKBA) as of June 2024, marking a milestone in the country’s efforts to protect its rich natural heritage.

What are KBAs?

Key Biodiversity Areas are places of international importance for the persistence of biodiversity, identified using globally standardized criteria. These areas are the most important places in the world for species and their habitats; and their identification, mapping, monitoring, and conservation can help safeguard the most critical sites for nature on our planet.

Why South Africa’s KBAs are special

South Africa is renowned for its unique and diverse ecosystems, ranging from the endemic-rich Fynbos biome to the expansive savannas of the Kruger National Park. The country’s KBA network is particularly notable due to South Africa’s megadiverse status, and support a wide variety of species and ecosystems that are found nowhere else on Earth.

The recognition of these 263 KBAs, covering approximately 357,198 square kilometres, demonstrates South Africa’s commitment to safeguarding its biodiversity. This network is underpinned by a thorough assessment process that identified 3,598 species triggers and 309 ecosystem triggers, reflecting the country’s ecological wealth.

Black Harrier
Photo by: Stuart Shearer

Explore more

To explore South Africa’s Key Biodiversity Areas and learn more about the significance of KBAs, visit the Key Biodiversity Areas website.

For detailed information about the work of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and BirdLife South Africa (BLSA) in identifying and managing these KBAs, visit their respective pages:

This announcement marks an important step in the global effort to preserve biodiversity, highlighting South Africa’s leadership in conservation and its dedication to protecting its natural treasures for future generations. The information generated and collected during the assessment will be crucial in ensuring that the goals of the Global Biodiversity Framework are met.

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