Skip to main content

Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures

A geographically defined area other than a Protected Area...

which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in-situ conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio-economic, and other locally relevant values”.

Essentially, OECMs are sites with high biodiversity and ecosystem services value, found outside of the formal protected areas network that provide conservation as an objective (even if it is not the primary objective) in addition to the site’s foremost land use objectives. OECMs can encompass a range of different approaches to governance and conversation management, including agreements signed through Biodiversity Stewardship, but cannot be a Protected Area.

Potentially 48.5% of South Africa’s unprotected Key Biodiversity Areas could meet the OECM definition (Donald et al. 2019).

OECM geographically defined can include, land, inland waters, marine and coastal areas, or any combination of these.  In exceptional circumstances, boundaries may be defined by physical features that move over time, such as riverbanks, the highwater mark, or the extent of sea ice.

To watch case studies presented in South Africa, please click the relevant links below:

Dixie Community

Wits Rural Facility





Film series directed by Megan May Nelson and Justin Woods at ReWild Africa and produced by Harry Jonas
Financed by Shared Earth Foundation
The project was led by Daniel Marnewick, Candice Stevens, and Romy Antrobus-Wuth, funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, 
Implemented by BirdLife South Africa in partnership with K2C, Wilderness Foundation Africa, SANBI, DFFE.


The full project report can be downloaded here, and the journal paper here.