Draft Western Cape Protected Area Expansion Strategy 2021 2025 April 2022

CapeNature is proud to present the Western Cape Protected Area Expansion Strategy (WC PAES) for the 2021 - 2025 period. Habitat loss, climate change and degradation are among the most pressing threats to biodiversity globally and this is equally true for the Greater Cape Floristic Region, the world’s smallest floristic region and a global biodiversity hotspot. A strong network of private and state protected areas has proved to be an important mechanism to conserve biodiversity and improve land management.

The WC PAES is aligned to the South African National Protected Area Expansion Strategy, the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act and the CapeNature Strategic Plan 2021-2025. The identification of priority areas for the protection of biodiversity is informed by the Western Cape Biodiversity Spatial Plan (WCBSP) of 2017.

CapeNature is mandated to conserve the valuable and unique biodiversity of the Western Cape on behalf of the people of the region, the nation, and the international community. The existing protected area network provides extensive protection to mountain catchments and encompasses over 60% of South Africa’s Strategic Water Source Areas which are located within the province. However, the historic focus on mountains has left lowland areas under-protected, with 20% of lowland vegetation types not protected at all. The updated strategy addresses the need to urgently protect priority threatened ecosystems.

To support functional ecological processes and climate change adaptation, CapeNature implements a landscape-scale conservation approach. The emphasis is moving from protected area-centric conservation to bridging divisions between geographies, jurisdictions, sectors, and cultures to safeguard ecological, cultural, and economic benefits for all. This approach enables stronger focus on strategic partnerships with key stakeholders such as local municipalities, provincial and national departments, NGOs, other conservation agencies, landowners, and communities.

Dr Razeena Omar

Chief Executive Officer