Sustainable Harvesting Programme toolkit
What is the Vulnerability Index?
The Vulnerability Index (or VI as it’s known), helps to determine which fynbos species can be harvested, and which shouldn’t be picked on the Agulhas Plain.
The VI forms part of the Sustainable Harvesting Programme toolkit.
Here’s how it works:
The index lists 150 species found on the Agulhas Plain. Around half of these are already picked for markets around the world. The other half are not yet picked – but have the potential to be harvested over time. Botanists examined each of these species, based on biological criteria. They created a guideline setting out how each of these species would be affected if they were harvested.
(0 being safe to harvest, and 11 indicating a great risk should the species be picked).
This is based on a scale of 0 – 11
Based on the VI score, we can therefore see:
- Which species can be picked;
- Which species can be picked, but must be monitored because it could become increasingly threatened;
- Which species must not be picked because it could result in the species going extinct.
Our Sustainable Harvesting Programme team, and the conservation authorities (CapeNature) use the VI in conjunction with the SANBI Red Data List, to determine which species can and can’t be harvested.
The VI differs from the SANBI Red Data List in that it:
– Only looks at the impact of harvesting (fynbos faces other threat as well)
– Currently only looks at natural fynbos populations on the Agulhas Plain, where most harvesting occurs (there are plans to develop new Vulnerability Indices for other regions).
Our Featured Stories
The Sustainable Harvesting team has received additional support to test new fynbos monitoring methods. A field monitor, Daylene van Riet has joined the team. She will now work with fynbos harvesters who are members of the Sustainable Harvesting Programme, together testing the field monitoring method and capturing fynbos harvesting data.
Silver brunia is helping to focus attention on the Cape Floral Kingdom – and specifically, the need to harvest fynbos sustainably. In an article featured in the Business Day, the demand for fynbos is highlighted – with fynbos exported to Europe, Asia, Russia and many other global markets.
Flower Valley’s Sustainable Harvesting Programme is in need of 4 field monitors. They will assist in using a new monitoring method as well as capturing data in the fynbos veld.
There’s nothing simple about monitoring fynbos populations – like seeing how fynbos harvesting may affect fynbos in an area over time. So the Flower Valley team has teamed up with scientists and students to find ways to more easily see how fynbos changes in the long term.
Flower Valley is introducing new skills and capacity to answer difficult questions around fynbos use. With the help of a database expert, the team is now able to use internet-based databases, to help analyse trends in fynbos.
Flower Valley’s Sustainable Harvesting team hosted the Conservation Ecology students from Stellenbosch University for the whole week, testing the field assessment set out by the Sustainable Harvesting Programme.
Our former Harvesting Manager, Oom Alfred Swarts has died aged 62. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and died at his home in Stanford on Saturday 17 December.
The Flower Valley team travelled to a chilly London in December – to bring partners in ethical trade and sustainable production together.
The Sustainable Harvesting Programme has a new team member. Kirsten Retief joins the team as the Conservation Extension and Applied Research Coordinator. She will meet with landowners and harvesters, providing support to meet environmental best practice principles in the fynbos sector.
Landowner and municipalities are now required to have a plan to control invasive species on their properties, and have an obligation to remove these species. New National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) regulations came into force on 1 October 2016. According to the new laws, invasive species are now considered a legal liability to property owners.