South Africa encourages nature protection with tax breaks | Global Ideas | DW | 17.11.2020

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Global Ideas

South Africa encourages nature protection with tax breaks

Climate change and a lack of funds for conservation are endangering South Africa's unique wildlife. The country is looking to tax breaks to encourage land conservation.

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South Africa: incentivizing conservation

Very little land in South Africa is suitable for planting crops — most is too dry, hilly or rocky for tillage. Still, unique wildlife flourishes across the country, even in seemingly barren places like the Karoo, a vast semi-desert region in the interior of the country.

With climate change decreasing rainfall and chronic underfunding of nature conservation in the country, some, like Candice Stevens, are looking for alternatives to encourage farmers and others in Karoo and elsewhere to be better stewards of the land. Stevens works collaboratively with a range of partners including WWF Nedbank Green Trust, UNDP GEF 5 BLU ProjectSANBI and Birdlife South Africa.

She is head of innovative finance and policy at Wilderness Foundation Africa and is trying to convince landowners to dedicate their land to conservation. The incentive? A tax rebate from the South African government. 

Stevens and her team have won dozens of landowners to the biodiversity cause with the tax model, which has already seen some conservation success.

A film by Henner Frankenfeld and Joachim Eggers

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