On the 20th of September 2001 the Kruger to Canyons (K2C) Biosphere Reserve was registered by UNESCO in Paris, as an official Biosphere Reserve within their Man and the Biosphere (MaB) Programme.
It became the 411th Biosphere Reserve to be registered in 94 countries worldwide, acknowledging the global significance of Greater Kruger bioregion, the eastern savannahs and escarpment of South Africa.
Biosphere Reserves are designated regions throughout the world where internationally important ecosystems and protected areas lie adjacent to human settlements, and are established to promote solutions to reconcile the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use
The population of one-and-a-half million people living in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region is predominantly black (97%), unskilled, and rurally based. Huge social and economic differences and inequalities exist.
The majority of the population lives under poor-rural conditions: a low percentage of functional literacy (around 50%), high levels of male absenteeism, low direct incomes and a high percentage of youths.
Ninety percent live outside urban areas compared with a national average of 35%. Twenty percent of the population is under the age of four, and half are under fifteen years old.
Population growth is significantly above that of South Africa as a whole with annual increases of 3.5% in total size (nationally the rate is 2.4% p.a.).
A high proportion of the population is not economically active, with households relying on subsistence farming, old age pensions and remittances from relatives working outside the area to survive. With such tenuous statistics, management and intervention in the area is crucial.