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.
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.