ABI Alien Clearing Programme launches
ABI (the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative) has held its first meeting with land users to plan and ultimately implement the ABI Alien Clearing Programme. ABI secured funding from the Department of Environmental Affairs, through its Land User Incentive Scheme, for the next three years, to tackle invasive alien plants across the Agulhas Plain.
Land users representing farmersí associations, fire protection associations and conservancies attended the meeting in Bredasdorp on Thursday, 28 February. Government departments, municipalities and parastatals also pledged their support to the programme.
An Implementation Committee was elected, consisting of representatives from the various groups. This committee will now oversee the programmeís roll-out, and determine the annual work plan, which will look to clear invasive aliens strategically across the area.
The Department of Environmental Affairs awarded the funding to ABI earlier this year. Itís hoped this programme will bring about an innovative, new approach to invasive alien clearing, where land user groups take a leading role in designing the programme. This will also allow for more strategic clearing of aliens on private land.
The Implementation Committee will now meet to ascertain the priority areas to be cleared - including areas of high biodiversity and conservation value, within the scope of the programme. The programme aims to create employment for around 150 local people, while offering them training and capacity building opportunities.