Kristal joined South African National Parks in 2019 as Head of Park Planning and Development and is responsible for protected area expansion together with strengthening the ‘biodiversity for development’ narrative.
This builds on her 15 years at South African National Biodiversity Institute where she led the Biodiversity Information and Policy Advice portfolio at the confluence of biodiversity science, strategic planning and development policy, delivering science-based advice in response to the real-world challenges of a developmental state.
Kristal led South Africa’s first National Biodiversity Assessment and National Protected Area Expansion Strategy, as well as several large Global Environment Facility (GEF) biodiversity mainstreaming projects that developed tools to ensure biodiversity considerations are incorporated in land-use planning and natural resource management across a range of sectors.
Championing the concept of ecological infrastructure and role of healthy ecosystems in supporting the delivery of essential services to society, Kristal’s programme catalysed new partnerships between the biodiversity sector, municipal engineering, mining oil and gas, and water and sanitation to enhance water security and job creation.
Kristal has a Masters of Science in Botany from the University of Cape Town. She is passionate about unlocking the potential of biodiversity as a catalyst for transformation and social and economic development.Kristal Maze