New buffer zone working group supports land users
An Overberg Buffer Zone Stewardship Working Group has been created to enable and support land users in the effective management and conservation of critical biodiversity areas outside of the borders of National Parks and Provincial Nature Reserves in the Overberg region.
Approximately 80 percent of South Africa’s priority biodiversity is under the care of private landowners. According to CapeNature Conservation Services Officer, Keir Lynch, it’s paramount to facilitate the conservation of these remaining natural fragments, which in some cases may come under threat from urban development and illegal conversion of virgin veld. “Ensuring landscape connectivity, conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecosystem structure and function will be crucial to protect the fauna and flora of the Overberg for present and future generations.”
The working group presently includes representatives from the Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust, SANParks, the CapeNature Biodiversity Stewardship Programme, the Department of Agriculture and the Breede-Overberg Catchment Management Authority (BOCMA). The initial meetings of the working group have focused on the manner that these role players can support land users and each other in collaborative partnerships to meet strategic conservation targets, increase effectiveness of conservation activities and provide leadership and expertise in the conservation easement/stewardship process.
Lynch says, “The working group will prioritise the conservation of endangered vegetation types, the creation of landscape corridors linking mountain catchments and coastlines and the development of buffers to the Overberg’s protected areas. By creating positive, proactive and effective partnerships with private landowners, the conservation of the remnants of our natural heritage will be sustainable ecologically, economically and socially.”
The Buffer Zone Stewardship Working Group will now invite land user groups based in strategic areas to meetings to ensure close cooperation between government, parastatals, NGOs and private land users.
Interested partners of the ABI Programme can contact the following individuals:
Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust – Project Manager.
083 551 3341
SANParks– Park Planning: Buffer Zones.
028 424 2589 / 082 908 2794
CapeNature – Biodiversity Stewardship Programme: Overberg Area.
028 314 0062 / 079 877 8160