Kudos for CapeNature’s biodiversity management
The International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated on 22 May annually and this year’s theme is “Our solutions are in nature”.
According to CapeNature’s CEO, Dr Razeena Omar, “this is indeed a day of celebration as CapeNature has made massive strides in reducing biodiversity loss. The entity has expanded our protected area estate year on year. We have supported and restored ecosystems that provide ecological goods and services and we have been very successful in curbing biodiversity crime.”
In the past five years, CapeNature has grown its protected area estate from 894 346 hectares in 2015 to a staggering 1 003 407 hectares. This was in part due to the successful identifying and establishing of biodiversity stewardship sites on private and communal land. CapeNature has signed 66 agreements with partners in the corresponding time.
The unique plants and animals of the Western Cape attract biodiversity criminals in the form of both national and international individuals and syndicates, which target our unique succulent plants, dwarf adders, girdled lizards and tortoises, amongst others. Since 2015 CapeNature’s alliance with provincial and national prosecuting authorities has resulted in more than 600 criminal enforcement actions.
One of CapeNature’s core mandates is the protection and management of impacts on biodiversity in the Western Cape. This speaks directly to healthy ecosystems and how to apply solutions that nature provides, to problems such as water security, pollution, disease control, food security and climate change.
Risks to biodiversity are mitigated through a number of projects and partnerships including the clearing of invasive alien plants like pine trees and hakea from our mountain catchment areas, the rehabilitation of wetlands, erosion control and fire management. Over the last five years, CapeNature has cleared 327 835 hectares of invasive alien plants from catchments at a cost of R43 124 998. When one realises that one pine tree uses approximately 50 litres of water per day, this means that clearing 1 000 pine trees from our catchments releases approximately 50 000 litres of water back into the mountain streams that feed rivers that flow into our dams and provide water to the people of the region.
The Western Cape faces many threats to its unique biodiversity, which includes drought, uncontrolled fires, invasive alien species, unsustainable resource utilisation and climate change. CapeNature ensures that ecosystem services critical to our well-being and survival
are protected by managing these threats as effectively as possible.