Japie Buckle, Hive Ecosystems MD, receives the Order of the Bateleur for contributions to conservation and biodiversity

On November 4 2023, Hive Ecosystems Managing Director, Japie Buckle, received the Order of the Bateleur from the SA Hunters & Game Conservation Association.

The award was received for Japie’s significant contribution to the conservation of biodiversity and ensuring the survival of our natural habitat and nature. The award is based upon the Bateleur, one of Southern Africa’s iconic eagle species.

After the ceremony, Japie dedicated his award to Hive for giving him the space to continue with his passion of undertaking habitat restoration work within the Hive Ecosystems team.

Japie’s contributions to conservation

Over the past four decades, Japie has played a vital role as a restoration ecologist based in the Eastern Cape.

His focus has been habitat, wetland and ecological restoration and is driven by a passion for wildlife, nature, and the untamed wilderness.

Initially trained in forestry, Japie transitioned into the conservation sector, where he played a pivotal role in establishing and managing conservation areas, most notably the prestigious Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site. His impact in the Eastern Cape, including the Baviaanskloof Conservation Area, is evident in the programs on invasive alien species control, wetlands and catchment restoration, fire- and wildlife management while he was involved with the management of the Greater Baviaanskloof

The SA Hunters & Game Conservation Association commented on Japie’s work: “Japie Buckle’s remarkable journey as a restoration ecologist continues to leave an indelible mark on the Eastern Cape’s ecological landscape, emphasizing both environmental stewardship and community empowerment. The sphere of influence and impact of Japies’ work is however much  broader as the Eastern Cape as many of the innovations and ground-breaking work done by Japie,  are now also utilised and applied in other areas of the country, including as far north as the Orange  River Mouth in the Northern-Cape and many bush encroached areas and wetlands in Limpopo and North West Provinces.”

Japie’s role at Hive Ecosystems

Currently, Japie works within the Hive group as the Managing Director of Hive Ecosystems.

Within our team, he is spearheading a ground-breaking, landscape-level rehabilitation project focused restoration and carbon sequestration.

In 2022, Hive Ecosystems secured over 7,300 hectares of land for a long-term transformation and restoration effort within the Albany Thicket biome, which is severely degraded. The land was used for agricultural farming over the last 150 years, with livestock and game. This intensive overgrazing of the thicket vegetation led to the degradation of vegetation cover and topsoil loss, and depletion of naturally occurring nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and minerals.

In order to transform the area, Hive Ecosystems aim to introduce millions of rooted Spekboom cuttings, a variety of small-leaved succulent plants, to the area. Beyond its environmental significance, this project promises to bring tangible benefits to local communities by creating a substantial number of jobs necessary for its successful execution, and ultimately provide a carbon sequestration source.

Since August 2022, under Japies’ leadership, the team has already planted more than 200 indigenous trees, hosted events where restoration practitioners and local farmers workshopped the dynamics around carbon sequestration and sustainable farming and planted over 850,000 rooted spekboom cuttings on the farmland.