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Overberg, South Africa

The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative

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Working together
in the Overberg
in South Africa,
to secure a
healthy natural

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ABI is a community where partners agree to live ‘the ABI way’

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ABI Partners together address threats to our Overberg environment

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The ABI Partnership breaks down silos; sharing and inspiring each other.


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 is currently coordinated by Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

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: Invasive Alien Clearing


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.

In June 2019, a new invasive alien clearing launched. This is an ABI programme, coordinated by Flower Valley Conservation Trust. 

In this programme, we targeted around 4,600 hectares of follow up clearing, and more than 1,000 hectares of initial clearing. The funds are provided by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, with co-funding provided by the Drakenstein Trust, landowners involved in the project, the land user groups and other partners. More here


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.




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 32 years. From research in our marine environment, to water and wetlands research, you can see the comprehensive list here. 



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 Overberg region, where ABI operates, faces many threats. In recent months, the ABI Partnership has looked closely at the impacts of climate change. The Western Cape has experienced temperature increases double the global rate between 1931 and 2015. The Overberg is no different. Experts predict by 2050, our region will be between 1 and 1.5 Degrees Celsius warmer – with more hot days, and less winter rainfall.


Climate change experts highlight that it’s priority to restore ecological infrastructure in the Overberg, for increased landscape productivity and for soil carbon sequestration. That includes removing invasive alien plants here – through projects like the ABI Alien Clearing Programme. That helps to protect ecosystems that provide key services (like water and soils).


The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) is undertaking a revisioning process, to make sure that as the ABI partnership, we can work together through people for nature. This process lays the foundation for conservation and development in the Overberg over the next 10 years – as driven by our ABI partners and members.

To our ABI partners: We’re calling on you to share your inputs to help shape ABI for the future.

We’ll be chatting to you online, to guide this revisioning process, funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust. (We would have met in person, but as a result of Covid, we’re chatting to you digitally).

We’re also chatting to many of you who have been involved in the ABI Alien Clearing Programme, as Contour Enviro Group evaluates the programme, to feed into the future structure of ABI to tackle just one of our problems i.e. invasive species.

And we may also like to chat to you in person to get a deeper understanding on your
expectations of ABI. We’ll be in touch.

The revisioning process is being funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust between 2020 and 2021.


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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.



ABI is coordinated by the Flower Valley Conservation Trust.