Conservation Easements in the Overberg

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Working towards Sustainable and Living Landscapes

The easement programme essentially works according to the following outline:

Critical lowland habitats are selected based on a set of criteria, including things like: fragment size and/or connectivity, fragment quality (in terms of management effects), biodiversity value (based primarily on plants, birds and other taxa where possible), landowner willingness, etc.

Landowners are approached and presented with a full report on the biodiversity value of their farms. Discussions regarding management requirements and easement options follow.

If a landowner is willing to sign a conservation easement, the legal paperwork is drawn up by our Programme Manager and legal advisors.

Then, a rough Management Plan is generated by the Programme Manager to highlight management costs and identify where the incentive funding can be spent.

Final negotiations around the conservation easement and management assistance (i.e. incentive funding) take place. Easements are signed by landowners and relevant authorities (e.g. ORCT, BLSA, FFI, or other relevant authorities).

After the documents are signed, a detailed Management Plan is generated by the ORCT, with regular inputs from the landowners.

Incentive funding is transferred to the landowner to implement the agreed Management Plan. Then comes the fun bit: we arrange for signage to be erected outside the farm stating that the farm is a ‘Renosterveld Conservation Area’ (we’ll include sponsor’s logos, etc.). The ORCT and relevant partners undertake annual or biannual audits of all easement sites.

 

Contact us

Contact Odette at info@overbergrenosterveld.org.za or call + 27 (0) 83 551 3341

What is a Conservation Easement?

In the United States, a conservation easement (also called a conservation base-ment, conservation covenant, conservation restriction or conservation servi-tude) is a power invested in a qualified private land conservation organization (often called a “land trust”) or government (municipal, county, state or federal) to constrain, as to a specified land area, the exercise of rights otherwise held by a landowner so as to achieve certain conservation purposes. It is an interest in real property established by agreement between a landowner and land trust or unit of government. The conservation easement “runs with the land,” meaning it is applicable to both present and future owners of the land. As with other real property interests, the grant of

The conservation easement “runs with the land,” meaning it is applicable to both present and future owners of the land. As with other real property interests, the grant of conservation easement is recorded in the local land records; the grant becomes a part of the chain of title for the property (Wikipedia).

The ORCT plans on using the American Easement model as a blue-print for conservation action in the Overberg.

KLIPFONTEIN RENOSTERVELD RESERVE

The first conservation easement has been signed in South Africa that is focused specifically on protecting Renosterveld.

WWF-South Africa has signed with a Caledon landowner, MG Lotter. The Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT) will manage the easement and provide the management support to Lotter and landowners who sign up in future. Through this innovative form of conservation on private land, part of the largest area of Western Rûens Shale Renosterveld left in the world (370 hectares) will be protected in perpetuity.

KYKOEDIE RENOSTERVELD RESERVE

A little bit of history for the ORCT

We’ve teamed up with landowner, Joshua Human, on the farm Kydoedie. Joshua is passionate about protecting his Renosterveld patches. And so decided to make his commitment to conservation formal, through an easement.