Third year of ABI Alien Clearing Project underway
The third year of the ABI Alien Clearing Project has started. The project will clear 30,000 hectares during the year, creating work amounting to just short of 35,000 person days.
The ABI Alien Clearing Project launched mid-2013, under the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Land User Incentive Scheme. The ABI project is receiving funding to the tune of R18-million from DEA for the three years. Co-funding commitments from land user groups, landowners and other partners in the project have amounted to approximately R2-million per year so far.
The project is currently creating around 220 jobs for project participants. Nine land user groups are involved, including 100 landowners. Aside from the land user group representatives, the Implementation Committee also consists of municipal officials, and SANParks and CapeNature officials, who assist in the rollout of the project.
While the project runs for three years, it’s hoped that invasive alien clearing activities will be supported for at least 20 years on the Agulhas Plain and broader Overberg. The Land User Incentive Scheme provides key support to land users to manage their invasive aliens. In the ABI Alien Clearing Project, ABI (coordinated by Flower Valley Conservation Trust) serves as the facilitator between the Department and land users.
In April this year, land users involved in the project met with government officials and other partners, through a Management and Research Planning meeting, organised by ABI and SANBI. It was the first meeting of its kind on the Agulhas Plain, and sought to highlight some of the successes, and address some of the challenges that have emerged from the project.
Landowners' time and capacity to oversee projects that have intensive administrative requirements remains a key challenge. Ensuring landowner champions and contractors remain involved and excited about these projects was also highlighted as essential. The two-day session ended with a field trip to the project area, to understand the practical successes and challenges experienced by participants in the project. The findings of the meeting were to be taken to a national DEA workshop in April.