THE CORONAVIRUS MAY HAVE ENDED OUR FIRST YEAR OF THE NEW AGULHAS BIODIVERSITY INITIATIVE (ABI) ALIEN CLEARING PROJECT, IMPLEMENTED BY FLOWER VALLEY CONSERVATION TRUST, EARLIER THAN WE HAD PLANNED.

But the project still managed to clear around 5 700 hectares in just eight months. And it created employment for 144 project participants.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries is funding the project over a three-year period. They are providing funding of R11,9-million between 2019 and 2022. The first year’s budget amounted to R3,7-million. Landowners involved in the project provide co-funding support. And Flower Valley Conservation Trust has raised additional funding for management and monitoring from donors, such as the Drakenstein Trust and the Millennium Trust.

The project has a number of deliverables:

  • To clear invasives for the first time on a site (initial clearing);
  • To undertake follow-up clearing (sites already cleared in the past);
  • To provide both accredited and non-accredited training (including herbicide, first aid training and a course on snake awareness);
  • And to create employment opportunities for our project participants

We’re extremely pleased that our ABI Alien Clearing Project participants are still receiving support while they’re at home during lockdown. We’re very grateful to the Department and our funders for their continued support during this lockdown period.

Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity, not only in the Overberg, but around the world.

Around 45,000 hectares are infested by invasive plants in the Agulhas Plain alone, says the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (a 2018 report). Not only do these invasive plants consume water, resulting in around 5% and 19% flow reductions in the Agulhas Plain, but they’re also closely linked to a changing climate.

To address this threat, the ABI Alien Clearing Project launched in 2013. Since the launch, we’ve worked with nine land user groups (such as conservancies), to clear strategically across the landscape. The nine conservancies together cover around 110 000 hectares.

The nine conservancies are:

The work forms part of Flower Valley’s Natural Resource Management Programme – through which we aim to protect our fynbos-covered landscapes for life and livelihoods.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Natural Resource Management: Alien Clearing

When invasive alien plants are removed from our fynbos biome, our river courses, wetlands and other natural landscapes, then nature can provide her bounty uninterrupted.  

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