- The Bokkeveld Stewardship Project
This project was a collaboration between the Botanical Society, the Northern Cape Department of Tourism, Environment and Conservation (DTEC) and the landowners of the Bokkeveld Plateau. The project encompassed conservation planning, facilitating implementation and influencing policy and legislation. Funding was provided by the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the project vehicle was sponsored by the Mazda Wildlife Fund.
Due to changes in elevation, temperature, substrate and rainfall across the area, the Plateau was identified as an area that supports an incredibly diverse flora. 1 350 plant species occur on the Plateau with 80 endemics, of which 28 are Red Data species threatened with extinction; the Bokkeveld Plateau is extremely rich in bulb species diversity and abundance. The plateau also falls in the succulent karoo and fynbos biomes, both internationally recognised biodiversity hotspots. The area was also identified as a priority conservation area by SKEP and C.A.P.E.
The aim of the project was to promote knowledge of the biodiversity, ecological interactions and ways to maximise eco-system services and benefits amongst landowners by information sharing and developing partnerships to address land management issues.
- Biodiversity in Environmental Assessment
The overall goal of Biodiversity in Environmental Assessment was to ensure that environmental assessment processes were aligned with biodiversity priorities and to give early, pre-emptive effects to biodiversity considerations in project planning and authorisation. The project aims were to achieve its objectives through strategic partnerships with the environmental assessment fraternity, government departments with biodiversity-related functions, and provincial conservation authorities. The project focused on biodiversity priority areas within the Cape Floristic Region and the succulent karoo and thicket biomes. Project highlights have included:
- Editing and co-authoring the Fynbos Forum Ecosystem Guidelines on Environmental Assessment in the Western Cape
- Introducing key biodiversity questions to the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning’s Basic Assessment Questionnaire which covers about 80% of all development applications in the province
- Undertaking a ground breaking review of the treatment of biodiversity comments in environmental assessment processes
- Providing vocational training for a Table Mountain Fund intern who was subsequently appointed as the first-ever biodiversity and land-use advisor in the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
- Initiating a project to expedite agri-environmental decision-making by aligning LandCare area-wide planning, fine-scale biodiversity planning and environmental management frameworks
- Co-presenting with SANBI’s B-GIS Unit the IAIAsa’s first-ever training workshop for environmental assessment practitioners on the application of biodiversity plans and products to environmental assessment.