Overberg, South Africa
The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative
in the Overberg
in South Africa,
to secure a
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.
IMPROVE LANDSCAPES. CONNECT COMMUNITIES.
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 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: Ecological Restoration
The Western Cape is one of the hotspots for invasive alien plants. We are most likely the most invaded province in South Africa. And according to CapeNature, water loss is also the highest here as a result of invasive plants. The Overberg region is no different. In many cases, our natural areas (and even agricultural areas) are overrun by Pine trees, Myrtle, Port Jackson, Black Wattle, and many more species. These species remain a major challenge to our biodiversity and ecosystems.
Our partners have acknowledged that alien vegetation clearing is a top priority in our region, but that it needs to be coordinated with fire management across the Overberg.
At the same time, there are also a number of opportunities to further develop markets for invasive biomass. Already ABI Partners are undertaking innovative steps to create market opportunities. There is, however, even more untapped potential here, and partners – working through ABI – are looking to get involved in supply chains.
The focus is now on invasive aliens and fire in the Overberg, not just for information sharing and data collection, but also for collective action, and where necessary, raising funds to make this possible.
ABI therefore plays this wider coordination role in natural resource management, bringing landowners, government, non-profit organisations and other role players together, to plan strategically to address these threats, and build on opportunities.
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. We operate according to these four themes:
Much research has taken place in the Overberg during the past few decades. Now, with the help of the University of Cape Town (Brenda Daly), we’ve included a list of biodiversity-related research that’s taken place in our area over the past 33 years. From research in our marine environment, to water and wetlands research, you can see the comprehensive list here.
PARTNER WITH ABI TOWARDS CONSERVING THE OVERBERG: BECOME A MEMBER
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 WAY FORWARD FOR ABI
The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative has undertaken and completed the first step as part of its re-visioning project – to prepare ABI for the next decade. Over the last number of months, thanks to the funding from the WWF Nedbank Green Trust, we were able to get together, collect ideas and prioritise.
To our ABI partners: Thank you for playing a part in helping ABI to get this far and to set the course for ABI for the coming years.
In a nutshell, here are the main action areas to come out of the re-visioning process:
- ABI’s objective, to foster biodiversity through sustainable and integrated socio-cultural, economic and environmental development in the Overberg, remains at the heart of ABI.
- A working group will investigate establishing a Biosphere Reserve – either in the Overberg, or in the Agulhas area.
- Whether we opt for a biosphere reserve or not, ABI will continue for now to play the coordinating role to bring partners together for joint action.
- ABI is now being set up as a non-profit organisation and public benefit organisation with its own bank account, secretariat and co-ordination unit.
- ABI partners highlighted the importance of scaling up ecological restoration on the Agulhas Plain – in particular to coordinate alien clearing efforts with fire management.
- That’s why ABI will continue to support landowners to come together to access alien clearing funding.
- ABI will also establish an Alien & Fire Action Group to allow for quick actions where needed by partners.
CONSERVATION NEWS IN THE OVERBERG
Following a series of interviews with workers, contractors, landowners and implementers involved, the evaluators found that the project had a vast social impact on the landscape.
Why should the Overberg landscape be managed collaboratively? A recent study has assessed the role the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative is playing across the Overberg as a landscape initiative.
The ABI Annual General Meeting brings together a range of partners including farmers and landowners, tourism operators, municipalities, environmental educators, nature conservation
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Located around the most southerly tip of Africa, the Overberg region is the showcase of some of the most beautiful landscapes.