Biodiversity and Agriculture of the Overberg Hot

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Blue crane and sheep by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

The Overberg region of the Western Cape in South Africa is one of the countries important agricultural areas and during spring and summer, is covered in vast green swathes of wheat, oats, barley and bright yellow canola fields.

Sheep and cattle wander the grazing lands with lower numbers of ostrich farms also occurring. These farmlands are  home to a diversity of animals and birds that have adapted to these agricultural practices.

The last remaining vegetation remnants of threatened Renosterveld vegetation lies scattered between the lands and are in desperate need of protection.

morning mist hangs over wheat fields of the overberg by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

1 of 12. A light morning mist hangs over vast wheat fields in one of the numerous valleys of the Overberg.

stands of wheat and a windmill by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

2 of 12. Backlit wheat fields cover the landscape with a windmill silhouetted in the background.

steenbok in grazing lands by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

3 of 12. A Steenbok ram stands silhouetted in the short grasslands of an agricultural land. These small antelope still occur in good numbers amongst the transformed lands and have adapted well to agricultural practises.

female southern red bishop in the wheat by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

4 of 12. As the grain crops ripen, vast flocks of seed-eating birds arrive to feed on the feast laid on by man. These flocks can cause extensive damage to crops and are not popular with farmers.

displaying blue cranes by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

5 of 12. South Africa's national bird, the Blue Crane, has adpated extremely well to agricultural practises and the Overberg is one of the few areas where numbers of this species are still increasing while in the rest of its range populations are sadly declining.

scratching white stork by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

6 of 12. White Storks arrive each summer from Europe to feed in the agricultural lands and follow the sheep and cattle herds, snapping up any insects disturbed by the grazing animals.

recently sheared merino sheep by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

7 of 12. Merino sheep that have been recently sheared feed in the stubble lands of a harvested field.

Ostrich yawning in the wheat by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

8 of 12. A farmed ostrich wanders through mature wheat, stopping to yawn widely.

pivot crop sprayer by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

9 of 12. A pivot crop sprayer waters young agricultural plants. 

aerial crop spraying of canola by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

10 of 12. An aerial crop duster sprays pesticides onto young wheat. Vast residues of this pesticide waft across the wind, causing increased health problems.

harvesting the wheat crop by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

11 of 12. Tractors cut and  harvest mature wheat

bredasdorp grain silos by wildlife and conservation photographer Peter Chadwick

12 of 12. Many small towns within the Overberg base their economies around the surrounding agricultural farming practises.

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These are such great pictures Peter - thank you. Hopefully our conservation organisations will be able to do something about the Rensoterveld. Best pic must be the one of the Blue Cranes - so animated. Look forward to seeing more.
Commented by Vanessa March 19, 2014

Love these

These are such great pictures Peter - thank you. Hopefully our conservation organisations will be able to do something about the Rensoterveld. Best pic must be the one of the Blue Cranes - so animated. Look forward to seeing more.

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Peter Chadwick
Author: Peter ChadwickWebsite: http://www.peterchadwick.co.zaEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
About
As a dedicated conservationist, Peter Chadwick has 30 years strategic and operational conservation experience in terrestrial and marine protected area management. He has worked within all of the major biomes in southern Africa as well as having provided expert conservation advice at a global level. His conservation and wildlife photography is a natural extension to his conservation work where he has numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. Peter’s photography is internationally recognized, with this work appearing globally in a wide range of print and electronic media.