Overberg, South Africa

The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative

Working together
in the Overberg
in South Africa,
to secure a
healthy natural

ABI is a community where partners agree to live ‘the ABI way’

ABI Partners together address threats to our Overberg environment

The ABI Partnership breaks down silos; sharing and inspiring each other.



So many individuals and organisations are doing great work in the Overberg. But often we work in isolation. We don’t talk to each. Or support each other. So ABI is the meeting place for those who care about protecting our region’s natural resources. From the private sector to government – together we address key conservation issues.

How does ABI work? 

The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) is a landscape initiative. That sounds more confusing than it is. In fact, we’re the conservation coordination hub of the Overberg region of South Africa. If you’re an ABI Partner, then you are ABI. Our ABI Partners choose to live the ABI Way: To work together to secure a productive healthy natural environment, to benefit all, in the Overberg.

ABI is currently coordinated by Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

ABI has five tasks, known as the 5c’s:

  • To convene interested and affected parties

  • To collate information and data

  • To communicate with all parties

  • To conceptualise projects and initiatives

  • To help raise capital for priority activities

What makes the Overberg so special? Well, it’s not only our rich fynbos and renosterveld. Nor our wetlands, rivers and catchments. It’s also our agriculture.


Ever driven through the Overberg? Then you’ll know what sets this district apart. It’s a combination of natural landscapes and agricultural lands.

As ABI Partners, we understand how important it is to protect our natural resources. We know the success of our agricultural sector depends on the health of the natural world around us. As partners, we realised this natural heritage needed immediate conservation action. But that we must work together to achieve success.

Our Projects: The ABI Alien Clearing Project

Invasive alien plants have been highlighted as one of the biggest threats to the Agulhas Plain, and the broader Overberg. Studies have found they cost the Cape Floristic Region around R700-million every year.

The Plain itself is 23 percent invaded by alien species – resulting in the loss of economic development (for example job creation through flower harvesting), and threatening this globally-acclaimed biodiversity hotspot.


So ABI hosts an Invasive Alien Clearing Programme, coordinated and managed by Flower Valley Conservation Trust. Teams of clearers work across the Agulhas Plain (and at times the broader Overberg), removing invasive species.


The teams are supported by the Department of Environmental Affairs, with landowners providing co-funding, and other partners providing assistance where they can.

ABI offers partners involved in conservation, social development, and other relevant fields, the opportunity to meet, share and work together to maximize our conservation efforts. More partners continue to come on board across the entire Overberg.



ABI is a voluntary association and signing up to become a member has no cost. As an individual, organisation, government department or business – we invite you to join and attend ABI-related events to share knowledge and partner towards protecting our natural landscapes.




The Overberg region, where ABI operates, faces many threats. In recent months, the ABI Partnership has looked closely at the impacts of climate change. The Western Cape has experienced temperature increases double the global rate between 1931 and 2015. The Overberg is no different. Experts predict by 2050, our region will be between 1 and 1.5 Degrees Celsius warmer – with more hot days, and less winter rainfall.


Climate change experts highlight that it’s priority to restore ecological infrastructure in the Overberg, for increased landscape productivity and for soil carbon sequestration. That includes removing invasive alien plants here – through projects like the ABI Alien Clearing Programme. That helps to protect ecosystems that provide key services (like water and soils).

What our members are up to:

Groenland Water Users Association


The Groenland Water Users Association works to control, manage and maintain the raw water out of the waterworks known as the Eikenhof Dam (Grabouw) and the water distribution network. The GWUA also protect the water resources out of which the members of the Association have water use entitlements.

The Eikenhof Dam is found on the Palmiet River and was established in 1977, primarily for irrigation use by the farmers in the Grabouw and Elgin Valley. The GWUA use this raw water and distribute it amongst their members.

In this extreme water crisis that has hit the Western Cape, the GWUA decided to donate water to City of Cape Town from the Eikenhof Dam. This donation of between 7.5 – 10 million cubic litres of water came in February 2018 and has helped push #DayZero back by 20 days. Yet, this donation does not come without risk for the farmers.




Crucial donation

ABI member focus: The Groenland Water Users Association 21 FEB, 2018 Land-use planning In this extreme water crisis that has hit the Western Cape, the GWUA decided to donate water to City of Cape Town from the Eikenhof Dam. This donation of between 7.5 – 10 million...

Discussing the green economy in the Overberg

The green economy was the key theme at the recent Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) AGM. The meeting was held in September outside Napier, and brought together land users, conservationists, government officials and entrepreneurs.

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Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative
44 Villiers Street, Bredasdorp
Tel: + 27 (0) 28 425 2218

ABI’s website is supported by


ABI is coordinated by the Flower Valley Conservation Trust.