ABI Alien Clearing Project clears 10,000ha
Invasive alien clearing on the Agulhas Plain under the ABI Alien Clearing Project has surpassed 10,000 hectares. The project launched in June this year. Around 30 alien clearing teams are operating across the region, with 278 jobs created through the project.
ABI is coordinating invasive alien clearing on private land on the Plain with funds from the Department of Environmental Affairs through its Land User Incentive Scheme. The department awarded R18-million to the project over the next three years. While the department funds the wages, the project includes a co-funding element from land user groups and other partners.
Through the project, land user groups are working with ABI to run the operations. Nine land user groups are involved, which includes more than 90 land users. Partners such as municipalities, government departments, CapeNature and SANParks have been instrumental in helping to plan and roll-out the project.
ABI at the Fynbos Forum
The ABI Coordination Unit presented the latest ABI Alien Clearing Project developments at the Fynbos Forum, held at Kirstenbosch in October – where the threats posed by invasive aliens were highlighted. A recent study undertaken by the University of Stellenbosch, and presented at the Forum, found that alien plants change the physical and chemical properties of soil, as well as the nutrient cycling processes. In invaded sites, total carbon and nitrogen were much higher when compared to both natural and cleared riparian sites. And although soil processes started to return to their natural state after the removal of the invasives (in this instance Acacias), the study found that some legacy effects remained.
According to the ABI Alien Clearing Project Coordinator, Roger Bailey, at the Fynbos Forum, the model and the process used to develop and implement the project differentiate it from many other alien clearing initiatives. The model has ensured support and co-funding from stakeholders involved in alien clearing. The process has allowed alien clearing planning to be undertaken strategically across most of the Plain. It is hoped that the three-year project will develop into a 20-year programme to support clearing activities in the region.