Farmer's Weekly

Why landowners should become custodians of biodiversity

In his semi-retirement, former dairy farmer Charlie MacGillivray runs pasture-raised beef cattle on Gartmore Farm in the picturesque Karkloof area of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Over his decades-long farming career, MacGillivray developed a passion for the indigenous plants and animals on his property. He was also involved in the 1998 establishment of the Karkloof Conservancy, comprising local farmers, foresters and other landowners, to protect the area’s treasured biodiversity.

Gartmore Farm hosts the conservancy’s educational and administrative Conservation Centre at its entrance, and MacGillivray helps manage and raise funds for the conservancy’s work. The general public, and birdwatchers in particular, are welcome to visit, enjoy and learn about the plants, animals and ecosystems on Gartmore Farm and other Karkloof properties.

“I believe that most farmers are naturally and intuitively conservationists at heart. If not, they run the risk of damaging or even destroying the

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