Cape Floral Region Protected Areas
Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004, the property is located at the south-western extremity of South Africa. It is one of the world’s great centres of terrestrial biodiversity. The extended property includes national parks, nature reserves, wilderness areas, State forests and mountain catchment areas. These elements add a significant number of endemic species associated with the Fynbos vegetation, a fine-leaved sclerophyllic shrubland adapted to both a Mediterranean climate and periodic fires, which is unique to the Cape Floral Region.
2017 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Outstanding diversity, density and endemism of flora
Ongoing ecological and biological processes associated with the evolution of the unique Fynbos biome
The recent reduction in funding and resultant loss of key posts is alarming and will have major negative effects on the various organisations' ability to manage wisely.
Increasing fire frequency, size and intensity is also related to the presence of invasive alien plants. Climate change, which is stimulating the growth of invasive woody plants, as well as increased drying has increased fire intensity and frequency. Fire frequency inside and outside the CFRPA is increasing and the risk of unacceptable change is increasing.
Fire management is a major issue in all clusters.
This situation has however deteriorated with the budget of CapeNature and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) in particular being severely reduced. This to the extent that several key posts that became vacant, for a variety of reasons, have not been filled. The operational budget is not adequate to perform the essential functions as the personnel budget is once again dominant budget item. This is the motivation for not filling many of the vacated posts. This is aggravated by annual inflation related salary increases that then further reduce operational funding. The implications of this funding reduction are far reaching and negatively influence all the listed threats.
Conservation Bill, the Biodiversity White Paper and the National Coastal Management Bill. NEMA: Protected Areas Act, NEMA: Biodiversity Act.
An integrated approach to fire and alien invasive management is being adopted. Fire management has also improved with the implementation of more coordinated responses to fires through Incident Command Centers supported by various government, local government and private stakeholders. There has been a reported reduction in budget in recent years, which may be limiting progress with the implementation of this more integrated approach. In addition, many of the protected areas utilise the METT system – Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool – to interrogate the protected area management and ensure constant improvement.
a) Establishment of a single management authority:
In line with the World Heritage Convention Act, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) was appointed as the single overall management authority for the property. Part of its authority was delegated to the three management agencies in charge of the different components, SANParks, CapeNature and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA), which ensure the management of the components for which they have the lead responsibility. Coordination is ensured through a Joint Management Committee, which includes the Chief Executive Officers of these three entities together with a representative of DEA.
b) Extension of the property:
The extension and buffering of the property was approved by the World Heritage Committee in July 2015. An assessment of protected areas suitable for inclusion within an extended property was undertaken, based on a rigorous set of criteria. The extension includes extensions of existing protected areas, inclusion of several new protected areas and an extension of buffer zones/mechanisms. These are within a number of landscape initiatives under the Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE) programme, which is seeking to create biodiversity corridors to increase the connectivity between the components within the property and to improve the long term viability of the protected area estate. This increased connectivity further enhances the resilience of the property to climate change.
c) Budgets to combat invasive plants and monitor fire impacts
Significant additional budget of R23.8million (c. USD 2.5million) was allocated from the Provincial Treasury in the financial year 2009/10 in addition to the R87.7 million in the 2008/09 budget.
Unfortunately this situation is no longer favourable. reportedely due to recent budget cuts.
In 2015, the Committee considered that all serial components of the property are managed in accordance with agreed management plans, however, there is a recognised need for a property-wide management strategy in the form of an Environmental Management Framework. The Committee requested the State Party to complete and submit the Environmental Management Framework by 1 December 2017.
There is currently an initiative to further extend the CFRPA to include other protected areas that were not deemed ready for inclusion at the time the extension dossier was being compiled. These will include Stewardship Contract Nature Reserves, local authority nature reserves and other legally protected areas. They will be exposed to the same rigorous selection process as the previous nominations. Priority will be given to consolidating the existing World Heritage property and its component parts, extending corridors and altitudinal gradients. (R11, R13)
Sustainable funding for conservation management is under severe pressure from competing socio-economic priorities to the extent that some agencies budgets have been cut, resulting in critical posts that become vacant not being filled. Operational funding is also no longer adequate to effectively manage the external funding and operational activities at an acceptable standard. (R12, R15/23)
There is firewood harvesting at some sites which takes place in tandem with alien plant eradication.
The concern over the increasing fire frequency, especially, but not only, due to the proximity of the TMNP to the urban environment has led to commissioning of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to update its fire management programme and set in place scientifically based desired measures and targets with respect to fire management. As such, an intensive fire monitoring programme, based on adaptive conservation management, is in place for all protected areas. However the scientific staff to process the data and feed back to management is inadequate. Many other essential biodiversity monitoring programmes are no longer taking place or have been reduced because of the staff/budget reduction (Annual Reports). CapeNature and ECPTA have been particularly negatively affected by this.
The ECPTA is also developing an information system. The 13 clusters of protected areas contribute to national monitoring exercises such as the South African Bird-ringing Project, South African Bird Atlas Project 2, the Birds in Reserves Project, Frog Atlas Project, the Nest Record Card Scheme, the Information System for Endangered Plants and the Provincial Fire Records database. The 200 hectare Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and Institute near Cape Town have very good visitor and research facilities and are an integral and biodiverse part of the Table Mountain National Park, focussing on research and public education about the fynbos. Uniquely, the Botanic Garden is therefore included within the natural World Heritage site.
The National monitoring exercises, that include the South African Bird Atlas Project 2, the South African Bird-ringing Project, the Birds in Reserves Project, Frog Atlas Project, the Nest Record Card Scheme, the Information System for Endangered Plants
The Cape Floral Region WHS has a global value in securing the conservation of a large portion of the endemic flora of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a global biodiversity hotspot.
|№||Organization/ individuals||Project duration||Brief description of Active Projects|
|1||University of Cape Town: Animal Demography Unit||
|National monitoring exercises that include or focus on CFR: the South African Bird Atlas Project 2, the South African Bird-ringing Project, the Birds in Reserves Project, Frog Atlas Project, Penguin-Watch , Southern African Butterfly Conservation Assessment, Mammal Map, etc|
|2||"Working for.. "programs (Water, wetlands , fire)||
||Part of the South African Government's initiative to create jobs and to alleviate poverty by providing biodiversity related jobs, to control alien invasive plants, fight fire and improve wetlands.|
|3||CapeNature: Save our fynbos fish||
||The indigenous fynbos fish of the Western Cape are under severe threat. The greatest threat comes from invasive alien fish, which prey on them (e.g. smallmouth bass), compete for resources (e.g. banded tilapia) and degrade their habitat (e.g carp).|
|4||CapeNature: Cederbeg amphibians and reptiles project||The Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor (GCBC) is one of the corridors proposed for the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). To ensure that the Cederberg Corridor will make a significant contribution to the conservation of the amphibians and reptiles in the CFR, a detailed survey of the greater Cederberg area is first required.|
|5||CapeNature: The Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor||The GCBC aims to establish biodiversity corridors across its landscape to ensure the establishment of healthy connected corridors of natural vegetation. These corridors include formally protected areas and natural vegetation on privately owned land|
|6||ECPTA Biodiversity Stewardship program||Biodiversity agreements entered into with private landowners where their properties are included in the conservation landscape and are managed by owners under guidance of a management plan and supported by ECPTA|
|7||ECPTA Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve Landscape Initiative||The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve landscape Initiative is one of the corridors proposed for the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). The Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve Initiative seeks to have a landscape where conservation, agriculture and eco-tourism combine to work together for the benefit of all stakeholders in the landscape.|
|8||CapeNature Stewardship Programme||
|This programme has four levels of agreements ranging from "loose" to "contractual", that can be entered into with private landowners whose properties have conservation value. These properties then become a formal part of the conservation estate. Those entering into a contract have the same status as a formally Protected Area. They are managed by owners under guidance of a management plan and supported by CapeNature.|
|№||Site need title||Brief description of potential site needs||Support needed for following years|
|1||Valuation of Ecosystem Services||Evaluation of economic value of ecosystem services with particular emphasis on the value of water and the wise management of the catchment areas for water production and pollination. This with the view to justifying the improvement of financial support for this wise management.||
|2||Early Warning System for Invasive Species||Development of an early warning system for new invasive species that are likely to emerge as climates change.||
|3||Improved Monitoring of Rare Species||Improved monitoring of change in rare and sensitive species and ecosystems in particular with regard to climate change and associated impacts such as Invasive Alien Plants and a changing fire regime. Particular emphasis to be given to slow maturing reseeding Proteaceae and vulnerable wetland specialists of various biota.||
|4||Strategic Adaptive Management Plan.||Develop and formalise a strategic adaptive management plan for each of the protected areas. This to deal with the coordination of an adaptive response to the fire and alien invasive plant problem in particular.||
|5||Raise awareness of the need to control IAPs and managed fires.||There is a need to improve the awareness of the need to control/eradicate IAP and the need to manage fuel loads with fire for both ecological processes and infrastructure protection, with the general public and the "administrators".||
CapeNature (2011) Cederberg Nature Reserve Complex Management Plan.
CapeNature (2014) Annual Report 2013/2014 .
CapeNature (2015) Annual Report 2014/15
CapeNature (2016) Annual Report 2015/16 .
Current and possible future impacts and vulnerabilities associated with climate variability and climate change for Africa.
Source: Adapted from IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007), Working Group 2: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Chapter 9.
Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (2016) Annual Report 2015/16 .
IUCN (2015) World Heritage Nomination - IUCN Technical Evaluation, Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (South Africa). .
Midgley, G.F., Rutherford, M.C., Bond W.J. and Barnard, P. (2007) The Heat is on: impacts of climate change on plant diversity in South Africa. South African National Biodiversity Institute.
Palmer, G., Maree, K. and Gouza, J. (2015) Buffer mechanisms for managing diversity and world heritage in the Cape Floral Region (South Africa). in Harvey, D. C. and Perry, J. eds. The future of heritage as climates change. London: Routledge.
South African National Parks (2008) Table Mountain National Park: Park Management Plan, March 2008.
South African National Parks (2014) Approved Plans [website] .
South African National Parks (2015) Annual Report 2014/2015
South African National Parks (2016) SANParks Annual Report 2015/16.
State Party of South Africa (2009) Report of the State Party to the World Heritage Committee on the state of conservation of Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (South Africa). .
State Party of South Africa (2015) Nomination of the Extension of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site of South Africa. .
Turner, A.A. (ed.) 2012. Western Cape Province State of Biodiversity 2012.CapeNature Scientific Services, Stellenbosch. ISBN. 978-0-621-41407-3
UNEP-WCMC (2011) Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, South Africa. UNEP-WCMC World Heritage information Sheets. Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC.
Van Wilgen, B.W., Forsythe, G.G., Le Maitre, D.C., Wannenberg, A., Kotze, J.D.F., van den Berg, E. and Henderson, L. 2012. An assessment of the effectiveness of a large national-scale invasive plant control strategy in South Africa. Biological Conservation 148(1):28-38.
World Heritage Committee (2011) Decision 35 COM 8E Cape Floral Region Protected Areas, Adoption of retrospective Statements of Outstanding Universal Value (South Africa). .