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WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT SAVING WATER and BIODIVERSITY ....... ARE YOU?
Preservation is increasingly becoming an important element to many farming operations. Not only is it essential to preserve the environment and the available water, but it also makes economic sense. Preservation farming techniques could reduce input costs; preserving biodiversity and wildlife could open additional avenues for generating an income for farmers in terms of eco-tourism or agri-tourism opportunities; additionally the preservation of biodiversity ensures that strong, disease-resistant strains of local plants are protected.
The term “biodiversity” or “biological diversity” covers all plant and animal species used by people for their survival. Biodiversity is at the root of agriculture since it provides the plants and animals required for production, while agriculture is a crucial element in the knowledge and preservation of biodiversity. An important aspect of the preservation of biodiversity is the sustainable commercial utilisation of local plants; one indigenous species showing a lot of promise is honeybush tea. A report on the potential of the industry was recently compiled by our Agricultural Economics Section.
Read more about South Africa's biodiversity at this Wikipedia link.
South Africa is essentially an arid to semi-arid country, and particularly vulnerable to climate change. Immediate action to preserve avaialble water and indigenous species is essential.
- Read more about Conservation Farming. Also available in Afrikaans and isiXhosa.
- Using technology for irrigation efficiency: Water is a critical resource in the Western Cape and there is strong competition between the urban, industrial and agriculture sectors within the catchment area that provide water to the Cape Metropole. Irrrigated agriculture is responsible for 43% of the water usage from surface water resources and thus need to ensure the efficient use of irrigation water. A recent project uses SEBAL (Surface Balance Algorithm for Land) to estimate total evapotranspiration and water use efficiency for the Hex River Valley, Worcester, Franschoek and Paarl areas for two growing seasons. The results for this study can be read here.
- Worcester Veld Reserve - seed production for biodiversity
- Clearing invasive species - read more here. The importance of clearing invasive species cannot be over-emphasised. According to the Working for Water Annual report 2001/2: "If we do not clear invading alien plants in 10 to 20 years we will lose 30% of our run-off to rivers. In 20 to 40 years 74% will be lost."
Publications and Downloads
- Fynbosfynmense: People making biodiversity work - Download publication here.
- Climate change fact sheet - here
- Cape Nature's Biodiversity Fact Sheet: A landowner's guide to managing biodiversity in an agricultural landscape
The Klapmutskop Conservancy was estblished in 2004 as part of Cape Nature's Stewardship programme by the five farms that share ownership of Klapmutskop - Delheim, Elsenburg, East Hill, Le Bonheur and Warwick. These farms act as curators of the conservancy. Read more about the Klapmutskop conservancy and the rare Renosterveld biome here
. The Department of Agriculture: Western Cape's Landcare
programme supports the conservancy financially.