CAPE integrates biodiversity into land-use planning and environmental management. Spatial biodiversity information is increasingly being integrated into government and private sector spatial and development planning at various levels. Maps and guidelines indicating the location of critical biodiversity areas and ecological support areas are used to inform land-use planning and environmental management – enabling development such as housing, agriculture and mining to be sited appropriately, away from threatened terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems – and strengthening resilience to climate change. CAPE partners work to make information and training accessible to local and provincial government, parastatals and the private sector.
Across the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), lowland biodiversity is under threat and often poorly conserved, since most of the protected areas are in mountainous regions. Through the CAPE programme activities for the conservation of lowland fynbos are co-ordinated to ensure that spatial biodiversity information is used appropriately to guide programme objectives for stewardship as well as land-use planning and decision making.
Municipal biodiversity plans and land-use guidelines have been produced for the following nine local municipalities: Saldanha Bay, Cederberg, Bergrivier, Matzikama, Hessequa, Mosselbay, Breede River/Winelands, Breede Valley and Witzenberg. In addition, a Western Cape Biodiversity Framework has been developed to inform development planning decisions for the province.
The partners in CAPE have a solid base of science, information, knowledge and capability, which has been built on to mobilise a co-ordinated approach to information management and taken forward through the Biodiversity GIS unit housed by SANBI. The BGIS website has expanded its initial fynbos focus to offer comprehensive and freely accessible spatial biodiversity planning information for the whole of South Africa. The maps and databases provide information on ecosystems, vegetation types, wetlands, rivers, protected areas and more.
Priority Actions for 2011 – 2020:
- Promote the use of Biodiversity Sector Plans and/or Bioregional Plans in planning and environmental management, and build the capacity of officials to utilise them. Reach agreement on institutional responsibilities and adequately resource processes for timeous updating of spatial biodiversity products, including the Western Cape Biodiversity Framework.
- Support the development of Biodiversity-GIS services to serve biodiversity information and support tools to targeted groups in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). Support initiatives to improve compliance with conditions of authorisation that are issued to safeguard against adverse impacts on biodiversity priorities and ecosystem services.
- Mainstream biodiversity into integrated planning frameworks, such as Strategic Environmental Assessments and Environmental Management Frameworks.