Restoring our threatened fynbos through partnerships
Invasive alien clearing in the Kogelberg Biosphere is gaining momentum. Currently we have two teams working for the Kogelberg Biosphere, removing invasive plants off some of our Critically Endangered vegetation.
The two teams have been working in the Betty’s Bay area since June 2023 – and have already cleared more than 115 hectares of densely infested Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) and Australian Myrtle (Leptospermum laevigatum). This is taking place in the Hangklip Conservancy on Hangklip Sandstone Fynbos – a Critically Endangered vegetation type. In fact, around 40% of this vegetation type has already been lost, making our restoration efforts all the more important.
Our partners have seen the threats to our fynbos landscapes, as well as the concerns regarding a high unemployment rate in the Kogelberg. That’s why WWF South Africa have come on board as donors, providing funding through their Small-Scale Fisheries Programme – in a project supported by the Government of Flanders and the German Federal Government. Hangklip Conservancy is another key partner of the Kogelberg Biosphere in these clearing efforts.
Kleinmond next on the list
In the next phase of the project, we will once again partner with the Department of Agriculture’s LandCare division. They will provide ongoing support to one of the two teams to continue the work in the Hangklip area. The second team will from 1 November work with the Kleinmond Nature Conservation Society, to remove invasive plants around the town of Kleinmond.
According to Corlie Hugo, Coordinator of the biosphere, thanks to the partners involved, 22 people in two teams, both under the leadership of contractor Ryno Seegals, are now receiving employment in the biosphere in restoration.
She says, “Invasive alien clearing was identified as providing an alternative and even supplementary livelihood for Kogelberg biosphere residents – especially those working in the fishing industry. This sector has been under pressure for many years now, so this restoration work reduces the risks of reliance on small-scale fishing.”
The benefits to nature
The benefits are not only experienced by the project participants, who now have a livelihood with which they can support their families. Corlie says, “The work is also resulting in huge environmental benefits. It helps mitigate against a changing climate by increasing carbon sequestration, reduces the risks of wildfire and improves water availability.”
She adds, “In the Kogelberg Biosphere, which covers 100 000 hectares from the town of Kleinnmond up to the mountains above Gordon’s Bay, and inland to Grabouw and beyond, partnerships are key. There are fantastic partners working in the area who make successful projects like this possible. We’re so grateful to these organisations and individuals who are supporting our biosphere to become an even better example of a region finding solutions to reconcile nature and people.”
Images: Pieter Malan
The Betty’s Bay Hack Group, the oldest in South Africa, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. It all started in February 1963 when Denys Heesom challenged Betty’s Bay residents to join him in tackling the alien vegetation encroaching on the Betty’s Bay fynbos.
On Sunday 4 April, the Kogelberg Biosphere Wildlife Rescue (KBWR) team, with the assistance of the Overstrand Municipality, members of the public and Betty’s Bay
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