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“Eden to Addo is the kind of project that has a potential triple bottom line built into it – Environmentally Sustainable, Economically Viable & Socially acceptable.”  Anton Bredell, Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning

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Eden to Addo has corridor coordinators in the landscape who can be called upon to identify corridors and initiate management. ( Contact us )

There are many activities that the individual landowner can undertake to ensure that biodiversity is enhanced and that the patterns and processes that support life within the corridor are encouraged. A lot of these are already being carried out by landowners within the corridors who should be complemented on their commitment to conservation.

INVASIVE ALIEN PLANT MANAGEMENT

Invasive Alien Plant Species are one of the single biggest threats to biodiversity in the region. It is important for the long term health of the corridor to control the spread of weeds in a systematic and consistent manner. Very often the control of weeds is closely linked to a burning regime in order to facilitate follow-up clearing.

ACTION WHO HOW WHEN

Identification, prioritization, control and maintenance of stands of alien invasive plant species.

Identification, prioritization, control and maintenance of stands of alien invasive plant species.

Priority areas are selected where densities are lower but where virulent species occur. Areas of higher density should be contained. Priority areas are cleared first.

Local, trained contractors are available who can provide professional quotes. Landowners to decide which methods best suit their requirements. Some prefer trees to die standing to maintain windbreaks, some prefer no use of herbicide. Methods include: mechanical (chainsaw), labour intensive and non-chemical (hand pulling), frilling (incision made in bark with application of herbicide) or ring barking.

During the non-growing season when plants respond better to clearing methods and herbicides.
When money is available!

The legislation pertaining to the removal of alien invasive plant species is the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act or CARA.

FIRE MANAGEMENT

Firebreaks and controlled burns are required to create a fire mosaic or patches of differently aged veld. This allows for the correct frequency and intensity of fires so that fires do not occur too often, leading to the prevalence of pioneer species or weeds. If fires are not frequent enough the result is old, moribund veld

There are three options to burning:

  1. Prescribed burning as per a fire plan that provides for a mosaic of veld ages and reduction of fuel load.
  2. Compartmental burning allows the landowner/s to choose large compartments, which may be isolated by pre-emptive burning of smaller compartments and the use of natural and other fire barriers (roads, young veld) thus allowing the peripheral compartments to be ignited under more manageable conditions while core areas can be managed according to natural burning conditions.
  3. Adaptive Interference management is based on natural ignitions (lightning) and supplemented by intentional burnes
ACTION WHO HOW WHEN

Fire break clearing, and where necessary controlled burns.

All landowners in fire prone areas i.e. surrounded or bordered by fynbos, plantation or alien invasive plants. The decision to burn must be approved by the Fire Protection Association who will issue a permit. The local or district authority must also be notified.

Firebreaks can be burnt or mechanically created. Any planned burn must be well co-ordinated with landowners and authorities. 1 day of burning requires 3 days of follow-up and control. Requirements for a burn: Diesel bakkie, drip torches, travel costs, rations, safety gear, salaries for staff. Requirements for mechanical clearing of fire break: mower or bossie kapper, tractor, diesel, driver costs. If the burn is smaller in extent then landowners can provide the labour. Similarly for mechanical fire breaks – instead of machinery labour intensive methods can be used e.g. hoes and spades.

Fynbos should burn on average every 12 years or between 9 and 15 years depending upon the veld type.

Controlled burns may not take place on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. No fires are permitted on Orange or Red days and only on Yellow days with permission of the Chief Fire officer.

The legislation pertaining to the control of veld and forest fires is the National Veld and Forest Fires Act 1998. Find attached to this document, an explanation of Integrated Fire Management in the Southern Cape and the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association.

REHABILITATION AND RESTORATION

Once the large or continuous areas of pristine habitat are conserved it becomes necessary to look at the disturbed areas and see whether it is possible to restore them so that the core is buffered against the edge effect of other land use practices. In the E2A Corridor disturbed land often comprises tracts of old agricultural land that, although useful as corridors for movement of mammals, may require active restoration if they are to regain some of their original characteristics. Many techniques exist that encourage the return of original plant and animal species almost all of them beginning with the principle that you conserve what remains and then remove alien invasive plants.

A simple and cost effective way of rehabilitating or re-vegetating disturbed areas with endemic species is to erect bird perches or to leave ring-barked trees standing to provide shade and a perch. The perches act as momentary respite for birds passing from an intact or pristine area, their bellies full of seed, to the next feeding site allowing them to make deposits along the way. In addition, commercially grown plants should be avoided as these harbour alien seeds in the soil and might not always be the appropriate, endemic species you require. Other simple methods of rehabilitation or restoration involve limiting the effects of soil erosion and the maintenance of gravel roads and their verges.

ACTION WHO HOW WHEN

The active rehabilitation or revegetation of transformed or degraded land.
Anyone who has intact vegetation that is bordered by agricultural or transformed land.

Identify priority areas based on potential for further degradation and available resources. Spread flower heads and mulch from surrounding areas (min one flower head with seeds per spare meter) CapeNature.

Erect birch perches, collect  seedlings from nearby and either bag them for replanting later or plant directly. Use existing material for bird perches, preferably dead wattle, gum or blackwood. Re-vegetate areas that are prone to erosion or in extreme cases consider using swales or gabions. Keep records (photographic and descriptive).

Re-vegetation or the sowing of endemic seeds should take place in the Autumn after a fire (CapeNature).

FENCING FOR AGRICULTURAL, RESIDENTIAL, AND GAME PURPOSES

The fencing of agricultural land, residences and game is common practice in the E2A corridor. Although fences may seem like an obvious obstacle to movement within a corridor, the ability of wild game to move through, around and underneath these obstacles can not be underestimated. However, in an effort to make movement of the naturally occurring species easier the following guidelines are important:

ACTION WHO HOW WHEN

Fencing of residences, game, domestic stock and pets.

Anyone who has a need to keep their domestic stock or pets IN, and other animals (wild or domestic) OUT of a certain area.

Where fences are essential it is best to enclose only the area that has to be contained without fencing the entire cadastral unit. “Conservation fencing” or fencing that is permeable to wild species is designed to retain domestic stock like cows while allowing local game to pass through. With a gap of 300mm between the ground and the first strand, species such as tortoise, bushbuck, blue duiker and bushpig are able to move freely. If a game fence already exists, gates can be inserted into the fence at intervals without losing the tension of the fence. The gates should be min. 400mm X 400mm (Pers comm. Ken Coetzee). Mesh fence is not a very good fencing option as it is practically impermeable and should be avoided entirely. One of the most effective, albeit costly, ways of enclosing domestic animals is an electric fence of 2 or 3 strands.

Any time.

STEWARDSHIP OPTIONS

The term Stewardship refers to the “wise use, management and protection of that which has been entrusted to you” (CapeNature Stewardship Manual). Within the context of conservation, stewardship means wisely using natural resources, protecting important ecosystems, effectively managing alien invasive species and fires, and grazing or harvesting without damaging the veld.

One of the best ways of implementing the conservation actions described above is for landowners to enter jointly into a stewardship agreement with an appropriate conservation agency or organization such as Eden to Addo. These range from contractual agreements to non-binding, voluntary agreements such as conservancies.

In order to understand the role of the individual landowner as an important stakeholder within the different conservation corridors, we need to understand what choices are available to landowners to manage their land for conservation and how the different organizations can assist them to do so.

Note that some of these are specifically allowed for by current legislation and involve a binding contract while others (conservancies) were developed as voluntary arrangements by the agency concerned.

TYPE OF AGREEMENT

IMPLICATIONS

BENEFITS TO LANDOWNER

CONSERVANCY

Provided for by CapeNature’s Stewardship Programme

Any natural land, no specific duration, existing zoning remains, access decided by landowner, no legal status, voluntary certificate of recognition.

Advice on best practice and management; possible assistance with management plans, provision of farm maps

PROTECTED ENVIRONMENT

Provided for by The Protected Areas Act (no. 57 of 2003)

Suggested vehicle: legal contract between landowner and conservation agency but the Act allows for the landowner to submit application directly to Minister or MEC (Part 6, 35(2)).
Declaration agreement between landowner and Minister or MEC
Relatively pristine land in a large landscape.
Suggested minimum: 30 years
Existing zoning remains
Access to properties decided by landowners
Conditions of agreement are not written into title deed and not binding on successors in title unless landowner wishes to.
Landowner may decide to re-zone to Open Space 3 or Conservation servitude (described below)

Drafting of management plan in partnership with conservation agency.
Flexibility in restricting landuse activities.
If a legal contract is entered into between the landowner and a conservation agency then benefits will be similar to Biodiversity Management Agreement below.
If landowner submits application directly to Minister or MEC then benefits would have to be negotiated with the relevant agency (CapeNature or SANParks), however this option has not been tested.
Possible tax incentives for minimum 30 year contract:  All conservation and maintenance expenses as required by the management plan are deemed deductible donations and can be deducted from taxable income.

BIODIVERSITY MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT

Provided for by the Biodiversity Act (no. 10 of 2004)

Suggested vehicle: legal contract between landowner and appropriate agency binding them to a Biodiversity Management Plan
Although the Act allows for landowners to submit a draft Biodiversity Management Plan directly to the Minister as part of the Biodiversity Management Agreement (BMA) , the minister has yet to agree to this.
Relatively pristine land including isolated fragments
Suggested minimum: 10 years
Re-zoning not necessary
Access for landowners must be consistent with legal agreement
Landowner may decide to re-zone property to Open Space 3 or Conservation servitude (described below)

Drafting of management plan in partnership with conservation agency.
Other benefits are contingent on resources available to the agency but could include alien veg management, fencing, fire and game management.
If landowner submits draft Biodiversity Management Plan directly to Minister then benefits would have to be negotiated with relevant agencies, however this option has not been tested.
Possible tax incentives for minimum 5 year contract: ALL conservation and maintenance expenses incurred in terms of the contractual agreement between the landowner and the agency are treated as expenditure incurred in the production of income and for purposes of trade e.g. rehabilitation, alien veg clearing or burning of fire breaks. Conditions apply.

CONTRACT NATIONAL PARK

Provided for by the Protected Areas Act (no. 57 of 2003), and the amendment to this Act (no. 31 of 2004) and implemented by South African National Parks.

Area managed under contractual agreement between the proprietor and SANParks
Critically important sites
Primary landuse is conservation
In perpetuity or not less than 30 years
The management agreement (contract) must have some benefit for nature conservation, and in relation to existing National Parks
Legal status under Protected Areas Act (Sec. 20), and conservation servitude registered against title deed.

Drafting of management plan and substantial advice and support regarding alien vegetation clearing, fire and game management, fencing etc.
Tax incentive: municipal rates exclusion for area under contract provided no commercial or agricultural activities take place.
Possible tax incentives for minimum 30 year contract:  All conservation and maintenance expenses as required by the management plan are deemed deductible donations and can be deducted from taxable income.
Possible tax incentive for minimum 99 year contract: Taxpayer may deduct the value of their land from their taxable income according to specific criteria.

CONTRACT NATURE RESERVE

Provided for by the Protected Areas Act (no. 57 of 2003), and the amendment to this Act (no. 31 of 2004) and implemented by CapeNature’s Stewarsdhip Programme

Area managed according to a management plan under contractual agreement between the proprietor and CapeNature
Declaration agreement between the agency, the Minister and the landowner
Critically important sites
Primary landuse is conservation
In perpetuity or not less than 30 years
Rezoned to Open Space 3
access by landowner, his or her family and permitted friends must be consistent with contract
Agency must notify landowner of intended access
General public not permitted unless agreed upon
Legal status on three levels: 1) Protected Areas Act, 2) Legal contract, 3) Notarial Deed detailing restrictions.

Drafting of management plan and substantial advice and support regarding alien vegetation clearing, fire and game management, fencing etc.
Tax incentive: municipal rates exclusion for area under contract provided no commercial or agricultural activities take place.
Possible tax incentives for minimum 30 year contract:  All conservation and maintenance expenses as required by the management plan are deemed deductible donations and can be deducted from taxable income.
Possible tax incentive for minimum 99 year contract: Taxpayer may deduct the value of their land from their taxable income according to specific criteria.

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The declaration of a Protected Environment is a new approach provided for in the Protected Areas Act that allows an “individual, organization or organ of state” to motivate for an area to be declared a Protected Environment (Protected Areas Act no. 31 of 2004). Courtesy of funding from the Table Mountain Fund (WWF), Eden to Addo will be piloting this option with landowners who are interested.

In addition to the above stewardship options, landowners can consider one or more of the following if they wish to retain their land, or a portion thereof, in conservation:

TYPE OF LAND-USE

IMPLICATIONS

Conservation Servitude

Notarial deed executed by landowner setting out terms and conditions of the servitude. Notarial deed gets registered against title deed and can be binding on successive owners (approximate cost: R1000). Not limited in duration. Management of the area can be granted to a management authority such as CapeNature.

Open Space three zoning

Contingent on approval from Dept. Agriculture to rezone to another landuse AND on the declaration of a private, contractual, parastatal or public nature reserve. Primary use is for nature reserve.

Resort Zone 1

Contingent on approval from Dept. Agriculture. Subject to environmental acceptability. Used to promote tourism accommodation in pristine circumstances. Can not be sub-divided. Densities of accommodation predetermined according to terrain.

Rural Residential Development

Contingent on approval from Dept. Agriculture. Subject to environmental acceptability. Considered only if meaningful consolidation of farms occurs.

Contractual agreement between Municipality and landowner

This is not a common occurrence but is still an option where the municipality is sufficiently convinced of the biodiversity value of a property that they enter into a contractual agreement with the landowner (in terms of contract law, not any of the existing conservation legislation) to keep the land in pristine condition.

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