Conservation Easements in the Overberg
Working towards Sustainable and Living Landscapes
The Overberg wheat-belt region comprises mostly agricultural land with grains and livestock farming being the dominant land-uses, while the remaining Renosterveld fragments exist solely in this agricultural matrix. It is therefore imperative that conservation efforts work in the broader landscape and not only in the natural vegetation fragments.
Through the development of our Easement Programme, we are working towards maintaining sustainable, living landscapes and conserving biodiversity both on arable (production) lands and in the adjacent natural vegetation. The programme focuses on building and cementing partnerships with farmers, so that together, we can work towards optimal grazing and fire management of Renosterveld, as well improved management of adjacent agricultural lands, e.g. reducing herbicide and pesticide run-off and drift, clearing invasive alien vegetation, rehabilitating water courses, and addressing pollution and waste management.
The ORCT aims to ‘fill the gap’ in lowland conservation, by offering landowners opportunities and incentives for declaring their remnant natural habitats as ‘Protected’ into perpetuity. This programme will be developed based on the American Conservation Easement Model and will be refined using the option of conservation servitudes through title-deed restrictions. It is hoped that enabling such a programme, while offering substantial financial assistance for important management interventions, will make such declarations more attractive to private landowners, thus ensuring more lowland habitats (and their associated biodiversity) are conserved in the long-term.
Pilot Easement: Kykoedie
Through very kind sponsorship from Fauna & Flora International and the willingness of a very caring farmer, Joshua Human, we are currently undertaking our first Easement. This will result in the formal protection of a 60 ha piece of Central Rûens Shale Renosterveld – a first for this vegetation type!
This veld is very rich in bulb life and is home to a small population of the Endangered Gladiolus vandermwerwei (see photo above).
Pilot Easement: De Vlei
We are working on a collaborative initiative with SAB Miller and WWF-SA to ultimately secure 100s ha of Western Rûens Shale Renosterveld in the Botrivier area, where the largest connected remnants of this vegetation type occur. Our easement here will be with MG Lotter of De Vlei farm and it is hoped that this will inspire neighbouring farmers to come on board.
The area is home to several rare and beautiful species, including Moraea comptonii (Endangered), Babiana purpurea (Endangered), Freylinia helmei (Vulnerable).
Contact Odette at firstname.lastname@example.org or call + 27 (0) 83 551 3341