30 November 2018

Article by Cobus Meiring (SCLI)

“Identifying invasive alien plants as the number one threat to our regional environment and natural infrastructure, and the work done by SCLI in assisting landowners and land managers in the Southern Cape to help them understand the environmental damage and down-stream problems caused invasive alien plants, directly feed into the way we manage natural infrastructure in the Southern Cape,” says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI), and the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF). Meiring attended a presentation on the Ecological Investment Framework project, which was held at the Nelson Mandela University’s (NMU) Saasveld Campus in November.

In their joint presentation to key environmental stakeholders, held at the Saasveld Campus, CSIR project leaders, Dr Dave Le Maitre and Dr Greg Forsyth, said that “what we dubbed the Ecological Investment Framework project, is really an investment in ecological infrastructure, by which we mean an investment in protecting ecosystems for the services they provide to us, such as reliable supplies of water and productive land”.

Dr Le Maitre said: “The recent extremely destructive wildfire covering almost 100 000 hectares, as well as those during the past two years, including the Knysna and Riverdale disasters, again focussed regional attention on ecological resilience, disaster and risk response and its associated factors”. The Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) was contracted by the Western Cape Provincial Government in an effort to get a grip on the state of, and future management of the natural environment of the Western Cape.

Also discussed at the meeting was current work in the region regarding the implementation of the Western Cape Biodiversity Spatial Plan (BSP), the prioritisation process of the Ecological Infrastructure Investment Framework (EIIF) and Alien Invasive Species Strategy (AISS) for the province.

In attendance at the presentation and follow-on discussion was a range of stakeholders, including representatives from local authorities and conservancies.

Concluded Meiring, “With the assistance and support we receive from the Table Mountain Fund, the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) will continue with its natural infrastructure initiatives over the next three years”.

 

The Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) is a public platform for landowners and land managers with an interest in the control and eradication of invasive alien plants. SCLI is a think tank for water stewardship, biodiversity management and climate change, and is supported by the Table Mountain Fund, a subsidiary of WWF SA. SCLI is also the Secretariat for the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

 

Written by Marti Kirstein