Several conservation entities in the Southern Cape have, by means of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), shared knowledge and expertise in efforts to oversee the rehabilitation of the environment, following the severe fires.

“Although not a legally binding document”, says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) , “the MOU is a clear indication of a willingness to co-operate and share resources”.

One of the most valuable assets in environmental management is geographical information that is accurate, recent and in the right format.

Information is gathered and displayed in layers which can typically show what type of vegetation is growing where, and differentiate for instance between which plants are indigenous and which are invasive aliens.

Information becomes critical in planning and budgeting for rehabilitation work.

These days technology includes imagery derived from satellites, which include a wealth of information with a click of a button.

Surprisingly, not all entities working with the environment use the same information platforms, or their focus differs from one another, with the unfortunate result that few entities are able to provide a complete picture.

Given the urgency to address the recent fire damage, conservation bodies such as the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI), SANParks, Eden District Municipality and the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association (SCFPA) have agreed to make available their respective data sets to a single manager.

Over and above making information available, the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative will bring to the table experience and skills from several conservation and government departments, ensuring the best possible platform to oversee the rehabilitation of the environment.

The Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI), is a public platform for landowners and land managers who have an interest in the control and eradication of invasive alien plants. As part of its Water Stewardship Initiative, SCLI is piloting WEP systems in the Southern Cape. SCLI is supported by the Table Mountain Fund, an associated trust of WWF SA, visit www.wwf.org.za for more information.

Written by Cobus Meiring