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:
- Akkedisberg Conservancy
- Napier Mountain Conservancy
- Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area
- Spanjaardskloof Vereniging
- Strandveld Vereniging
- Solitaire Conservancy
- Diepegat Conservancy
- Kleinriviersberg Conservancy
- Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy
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.
Most of these wonderful aromas can be experienced on a hike through our fynbos. So if you head to Flower Valley Farm now, here’s what’s likely to light up your sense of smell.
When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust.
At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).
Over the past two years, 138 fynbos harvesters received training in how to harvest fynbos sustainably. They were trained in their own home language (Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English).
“The response we received to our call for donations, was heartwarming and enabled us to meet the overwhelming need in these communities.”
Australia and South Africa have teamed up to add new functionality to the Flower Valley Alien Clearing Programme.
The Flower Valley team has found two new alien plant species to the Overberg, while working along the banks of the Klipdrift River in Napier. And one species in particular is causing concern for conservationists here, due to its
It’s blooming beautiful on Flower Valley Farm right now. The Proteas are flowering – and that makes it quite simply one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit the farm for a hike.