GIS Specialist Services


What this report is 

This is a report delivered to the Gouritz Initiative (GI) project of the Western Cape Nature  Conservation Board (WCNCB). The report collates and analyses environmental and biological  data, which are used to delineate Management Sectors (MSs) for the Gourits planning domain,  and to identify projects for these MSs. The projects are all guided by the overall Mission of the GI,  and its Vision: 

Mission: We take ownership of the sustainable utilization of the unique biodiversity of the area by  ensuring global recognision through partnerships, continuous awareness and responsible decision  making for the benefit of all people, now and in the future. 

Vision: By the year 2020 the Gouritz Biodiversity Corridor supports a system of sustainable living  landscapes that is representative of the region’s biodiversity through the co-existence of all  stakeholders. 

The report outlines five Management Sectors (MSs) in the Gourits planning domain, and the Broad  Management Units (BMUs) within these sectors. The rationale behind the delineation of five MSs  (geographical areas) is primarily to provide a geographical framework for the managers who will be  responsible for implementing the GI and its recommended projects. However, within these broad  MSs, many finer-scaled BMUs are delineated, and each of these BMUs incorporates particular  environmental features and requires a particular suite of management interventions. In addition,  some BMUs cut across MSs, and joint management between adjacent managers will be required.  

Why the Gourits area is important 

The Gourits planning domain is an area of overlap of four sub-regions of southern Africa, each of  which has been the recipient of international funding to develop conservation and sustainable use  plans *(CAPE, SKEP, STEP, GRI). Two of these sub regions (those of the CAPE and SKEP  projects) have been classified as global biodiversity hotspots, and have thus received international  recognition and funding. In addition, the importance of the CAPE project has been ratified at a  Provincial and National level. It is thus our duty as South Africans to manage this special area in a  sustainable manner. 

*Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE), Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Plan (SKEP),  Subtropical Thicket Ecosystem Plan (STEP), Garden Route Initiative (GRI).

What this report does 

This report hopes to provide the scientific underpinning for the sustainable management of the  region’s environmental resources. It provides broad-scale spatial information for land use planners  at the provincial and municipal level. It can be used to inform developing Spatial Development  Frameworks (SDFs). It outlines projects that will be required to achieve sustainable utilization of  the Gourits planning domain. It collates input from many specialists, across a broad spectrum of  land use management (see acknowledgements). All the mapped products shown in this report are  available in digital (GIS) format. 

What this report does not do 

The report is NOT a fine-scale plan for the region. The vegetation map used is at a scale of  1:100 000, and most of the other spatial data are at 1:250 000. In order to conduct a fine-scale  analysis, a fine-scale vegetation map is required for the entire planning domain (one has already  been commissioned for the Little Karoo), and a fine-scale transformation map is also required (a  related project has already begun). In the absence of a fine-scale plan (an the enormous financial  and time costs required to undertake these plans), we have conducted a broad-scale analysis to  guide land use decision-making. 

The chapters on Land Use Pressures and Projects attempt to draw together biological issues (both  aquatic and terrestrial), as well as the spatial components of socio-economic issues (agriculture,  water use, and tourism). It must be noted, however, that this report was commissioned to address  the biological issues only, and the incorporation of socio-economic issues was done simply to aid  us in the interpretation of our biological information, and to help us identify appropriate projects.  Also note that this report does not collate the information from the Economic Pre-Feasibility study  that was also submitted to the GI – the overall Management Plan of the GI will address that. 

The future 

We recommend that the methods and analyses outlined in this report are applied to a fine-scale  plan for the Gourits region. The need for fine-scale information is constantly re-iterated, by all land  use decision makers. Regional plans such as SDFs require fine-scale products to be really  effective, and SDFs are now legal requirements.


The chapters on Land Use Pressures and Tourism Opportunities were developed from information  gathered at expert workshops, run during the second half of 2003. The authors thus accept no  responsibility regarding the accuracy of the text, the comments made, nor the maps produced. In  addition, the authors accept no responsibility for the accuracy of text within the chapter on Projects.  These projects are merely suggestions, based on biological considerations.