The South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI’s) Biodiversity and Land Use Project implementing partners, CapeNature and the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP), recently completed the development of a summary overview of the 2017 Western Cape Biodiversity Spatial Plan (WCBSP). The document is aimed at a broad user group including landowners, ward councillors, and generalist environmental practitioners in both government and civil society.

This attractively illustrated eight-page document, is accessible and easy to engage with and gives the reader a basic understanding of Critical Biodiversity Areas and Ecological Support Areas, and explains how this spatial information can assist decision making with regard to land use and environmental management. The summary overview is also packed with useful facts about the irreplaceable biodiversity of the Western Cape Province. DEA&DP and CapeNature worked collaboratively on this.

The WCBSP is a provincial systematic biodiversity planning product that serves as a roadmap to a sustainable and inclusive living environment; ensuring smart and sustainable growth in the Province. The biodiversity and ecological infrastructure of the Western Cape is a valuable, but vulnerable, asset that could be a rich source of natural solutions to the challenges posed by poverty, unemployment, and climate change.

For this potential to be realised, land use planners and managers in a wide range of sectors need good scientific information that is effectively interpreted and made available to end-users; well-capacitated institutions that are responsible for effective management and governance of biodiversity assets; and well-informed policies, legislation and leaders. The Western Cape Biodiversity Spatial Plan is an important tool for addressing these needs.

The overview is available on the CapeNature website. A print run is in the process of being done and stock will be made available for dissemination on request.

Article by Philippa Huntly and Alana Duffell-Canham

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