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Namibia: Biodiversity in the Past and Today - Still the Basis of our Life


Action Day at the Brandberg






Original announcement of the event on this website (April 2010)

Action Day at the Brandberg

Raising the B-Day Flag on the Summit

On Saturday 8 May, Namibia heralded its Year of Biodiversity with an event full of exciting activities. A huge flag reading "Biodiversity Action Day / Brandberg Namibia" remains as witness of the day on Namibia's highest summit. At its scenic base, a variety of stakeholders made scientifically instructed hands-on experiences and got new insights into the unparalleled significance of biodiversity.

The "Burning Mountain" at the heart of Namibia impresses the visitor with a rugged appearance: the pile of rock towers almost 2000m above the flat, grass-grown plains of the surrounding semi-desert. Brandberg boasts the most prolific prehistoric rock paintings of Africa. Besides, it is a renowned endemism hotspot and the place where the "Gladiator", representative of a completely new insect order, was first discovered less than a decade ago.

The unique features of Brandberg and the surrounding Tsiseb Conservancy are most suitable to illustrate the tight relationships between biodiversity and humans. More than one hundred participants travelled to the Brandberg White Lady Lodge to take part in inspiring excursions, presentations and discussions.

On the Saturday, Namibian and international scientists guided six action groups on excursions to explore different aspects of "nature for development". The participants were as diverse as pupils from the local town Uis and the capital Windhoek, representatives of Namibian NGOs and companies, political decision-makers and journalists.

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Themes of the Action Groups and Core Findings

1. Invertebrates: Small Heroes. "It's the small things that run the world" - a joyous group mostly composed of children took the opportunity to explore the world of small things and find that there's much more to "creepy-crawlies" than they had thought.

Small heroes

2. Plants: The Basis of Civilization. During promising collecting activities in what on the first glance had looked like monotonous grassland, local participants collected fruits and pods - not for the plant press but to fill their lunch boxes!

3. Mammals: Brothers From Other Mothers. Tracing our shy animal relatives can be quite challenging. Nonetheless, the list of spottet mammal species grew surprisingly long during the day, longer even than that of their multiple benefits.

4. The Ugab Wetlands: Water is Life. A wetland in the middle of the desert is a very special, fragile and particularly important ecosystem. It holds life in abundance - not only the laypersons were baffled by the full-grown fish they found.

5. Conservancies: Biodiversity the Base of Living. Namibia is known for its community-based natural resource management. The group found various examples of how local communities sustainably benefit from biodiversity, although the Conservancy is still working to develop its full potential.

6. Brandberg's Rock Paintings: Messages of the Past for the Future. Guided by an archaeologist, the group explored the rock paintings and saw how competently and responsibly the ancient inhabitants used to live from biodiversity. This remains necessary today, as humans still depend on the same natural resources.

A seventh, international team of hikers and guides had set off several days earlier to cross the mountain and capture an impression of the amazing top area. Their second mission was to raise the "Biodiversity Action Day" flag on the summit, to add symbolic value to the official opening of Namibia's Year of Biodiversity.

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Discussion of Outcomes

After an active day of exploration, all groups presented and vividly discussed their findings in the evening. Everyone agreed on the one overriding impression: Functioning ecosystems are enormously rich in species and provide indispensable services to humankind.

The Namibian Minister of Environment and Tourism, Ms. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and the Counselor for Development Cooperation at the German Embassy, Dr. Romeo Bertolini, supported this important insight with their contributions. They participated in the late-night light trapping, summarized the findings of the action day and pointed out that effective preservation of biodiversity is vital for Namibia's economic well-being.

The Minister emphasized that the Biodiversity Action Day is to be taken as an incentive for further action to safeguard biodiversity. On May 17, she therefore summoned a parliament briefing on biodiversity issues. Furthermore, the lessons from the Brandberg ecosystem where presented and discussed at a joint Ministry / University symposium on "biodiversity conservation for development", which took place in the capital on May 21.

For a detailed account of the many species that were found during the Namibian Action Day, and of their importance in the Brandberg ecosystem, please refer to the "Outcomes Namibia and Species found.pdf" in the Download section.

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Newpaper articles

Reports by cooperating partners

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Powerpoint presentation on the Brandberg action day and its results (English)

4.4 M


Description of action groups and their findings (German)

29 K


Detailed account of species found, their interrelations and importance in the Brandberg ecosystem (English)

169 K

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Below is the first of four parts of the video on Biodiversity Action Day 2010 in Namibia.
Please click on the following links to view  part 2,  part 3 and  part 4.

Flash is required!

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Brandberg Route

Ascent to Brandberg

Brandberg Summit

Collecting Specimens

Invertebrate Collecting

Water is Life

Picture Show

Leaving for Explorations

Little things run the world

Small Heroes

Joyous Explorers

Small Heroes

Analyzing Plants

The Wetlands

Water is Life

Elephant dam

Biodiversity in Jewellery

Message from Ancestors

Processing the Findings

Light Trapping

Night Animals

Drawing competition

Minister of Environment

Presentations in Dining Hall

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