Loss of Biodiversity – the Cape Town example High School Workshop 25 May 2013 Patricia Holmes Biodiversity Management Branch Environmental Resource Management Department What is biodiversity? Convention on Biodiversity: The abundance and distributions of and interactions between genotypes, species, communities, ecosystems and biomes. Natural capital (=goods & services) Ecological infrastructure Natural heritage What is Biodiversity? Hierarchy of scales: • Biomes • Landscapes – vegetation types/ ecosystems • Habitats – communities of plants, animals & microbes • Populations - genes Biodiversity in Cape Town • Cape Floristic Region (CFR) has half of SA’s plant biodiversity in only 4% of area • Cape Town has one third of the CFR’s biodiversity (Over 3000 plant species) in under 3% of the CFR area We are a global biodiversity hotspot without parallel !! NEM:BA THREATENED ECOSYSTEMS: 2011 440 Vegetation types - 19 in city 21 are Critically Endangered - 11 in city - 6 endemic vegetation types (3 CR)! - 13 extinct plant species - 319 threatened with extinction 2011 NEM:BA Historical Vegetation 2013 vegetation Transformation: 2/3 agriculture 1/3 urbanization Proclaimed reserves City Land Use 150000 140000 urbanization 130000 agriculture 120000 unproclaimed vegetation proclaimed reserves 110000 100000 Area (ha) 90000 80000 70000 60000 50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 0 1900 1920 1940 1960 Year 1980 2000 7% remains 3% conserved TARGET: 30% Lourensford Alluvium Fynbos - CR Peninsula Shale Renosterveld - CR 11% remains 10% conserved TARGET: 26% 14% remains 1% conserved TARGET: 30% Cape Flats Sand Fynbos - CR Restoration essential to save species OPPORTUNITY TO RESTORE EXTINCT SPECIES Erica verticillata EW Erica turgida EW FIRE IS ESSENTIAL FOR RESTORATION Major threat in Urban areas to Conservation Fire legislation FYNBOS MUST BURN! Mowing eradicates Fynbos Cape Flats Dune Strandveld – EN 45% remains 13% conserved TARGET: 24% Peninsula Granite Fynbos CR N S 68% 34% remains 58% 30% conserved** TARGET: 30% Peninsula Sandstone Fynbos – EN 97% remains 94% conserved Importance of Cape Town’s biodiversity? Legal responsibility to conserve biodiversity for future generations CBD; NEMA; NEM:BA; NEM:PAA; Countdown 2010; City strategies etc Importance of Cape Town’s biodiversity Economic value: goods & services; ecological infrastructure E.g. clean water; coastal & soil stabilization Replacement value = R2 - R6 billion / year! Underpins tourism industry Direct job creation (e.g. Zeekoevlei = 8200 pdpa) Intrinsic value through its mere existence Consumptive use value (e.g. harvesting) Importance of Cape Town’s biodiversity Educational value – potential outdoor EE opportunity within walking distance of every school. (over 24,000 learners partook in City EE programmes in 2012) Social value through recreation and open space (integral to health and well being) Aesthetic value through beauty and scenic drives Spiritual value Bequest value – the value of retaining biodiversity for future generations Option value – value of retaining biodiversity for future use Climate change – mitigation and adaptation Threats to biodiversity in Cape Town Habitat loss & fragmentation Urban development Agriculture Invasive species Inappropriate fires Mowing Over-exploitation Pollution (N-deposition) Hydrological change Crime All need to be addressed for Smart Living! Khayelitsha Acacia saligna invading Sand Fynbos Conservation Planning Biodiversity Network Sound Spatial Planning: ensuring that the BioNet is a key informant in the SDF as well as district SDPs and EMFs NATURE RESERVE CONSERVATION PROTECTION: Many of the conservation areas have no real conservation protection Reserves will be proclaimed under the Protected Areas Act (NEM:PAA) Secondary sites of conservation importance will be protected as Biodiversity Agreements under the Western Cape Nature Conservation Ordinance Benefits of conservation protection: - Shows the intent of the Municipality - Excellent publicity opportunities - Expertise from CapeNature - Friends groups rally around proclaimed sites - Funders are more keen to invest in “safe” sites - The holistic management of fire and aliens is far more cost effective.