Fynbos Forever Programme

Ecosystems are healthy and resilient

Healthy ecosystems are foundational to our civilisations and our economies. They clean our water, purify our air, maintain our soil, regulate the climate, recycle nutrients, and provide us with food, medicines, and recreational and cultural services.

The Table Mountain Fund’s Fynbos Forever Programme aims to ensure that these priority natural ecosystems are healthy and resilient. A key focus of the programme is the protection of land and the adjacent marine environment and the appropriate management thereof, to allow for future generations to continue to benefit from our unique biodiversity and the services provided by these intact and functional ecosystems.

This programme aims to ensure that:

  • Priority ecosystems such as Water Source Areas and Critical Biodiversity Areas are safeguarded through formal and informal legal protection mechanisms.
  • Appropriate resource management interventions reduce threats and build resilience in the natural fynbos ecosystems and surrounding marine environment.
The Table Mountain Fund aims to contribute R4.5 million towards the Fynbos Forever Programme, ensuring that fynbos remains healthy and intact for future generations.

Fynbos Forever Projects:

Credit: Kevin McCann

Re-valuing the contribution of private nature reserves to the Western Cape Protected Area Network

Conservation Outcomes
1 January 2019 – 31 August 2021

The Western Cape is home to biodiversity assets of international importance, much of which is located in private ownership. As a result, many landowners have in the past secured their properties as “private nature reserves”, prior to the promulgation of the Protected Areas Act in 2003. Unfortunately, many of these private nature reserves do not have the necessary legal requirements in place as now required by the Act, placing their biodiversity security at risk. This TMF funded project is allowing Conservation Outcomes and CapeNature to target those properties declared prior to the Act, to assessment and in effect regularise these private nature reserves to ensure compliance with the Act, a key component of the Western Cape Protected Area Expansion Strategy (WCPAES).

Credit: Atlantic Edge Films

Re-assessing the biodiversity and status of marine resource use in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area

Shark Spotters
1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021

The Table Mountain National Park marine protected area (TMNP-MPA) was established in 2004 to protect marine biodiversity and exploited species. However, it is not known if the MPA is fulfilling its goals of safe-guarding the sustainable use of marine resources. SANParks will conduct dive surveys, use baited remote underwater video cameras (BRUVs) and drones to assess the status of biodiversity, exploited marine species and resource use, to determine the extent to which the TMNP-MPA meets its objectives. This information is essential for enabling adaptive management,improving planning, justifying additional or different resource allocations and promoting accountability with regard to management effort and outcomes. Only by assessing how well the MPA is doing can it be managed effectively and contribute to the overarching goals of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use of marine resources and an improved quality of life for coastal communities.

Credit: Marienne de Villiers

Using drone technology to supplement stewardship capacity in the Little Karoo

Executant: Fourie, de Villiers and Associates
1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021

There are a large number of stewardship sites in the Little Karoo, but limited conservation personnel to provide a good extension service to them all. Biodiversity monitoring is an important part of extension but is time-consuming. This project will investigate the usefulness of a Phantom 4 Proquadcopter in filling this gap at some of the Little Karoo stewardship sites that are part of the CapeNature’s Leslie Hill Succulent Karoo Trust Stewardship Project. Monitoring of erosion, threatened plant populations, vegetation cover and invasive alien plants will be tested.

Credit: Cobus Meiring

SCLI Cape Floristic Corridor Revival and Training Programme

Executant: Natural Bridge Communications
1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021

The project entails the establishment of a network of north/south conservation corridors along selected river systems – Groot Brak, Kaaimans, Touws, Knysna and Goukamma – in the Southern Cape. The selected corridors represent crucially important remaining natural land available for biodiversity connectivity and conservation in the Southern Cape. Through an interactive land management framework, the factors that inhibit corridor flow will be determined and landowners will be trained to develop Invasive Alien Plant Control Plans for their respective properties. The Invasive Alien Plant Control Plans include densities of invasive alien plants, age classes, species, person days to clear, methodology, prioritisation and tracking of clearing efforts.

Credit: Jacques van der Merwe *Pienk Bobbejaantjie Babiana blanda - Critically Endangered*

Klein Dassenberg: Securing critical conservation benefits

Executant: Wilderness Foundation Trust
1 October 2018 – 30 June 2021 

The Klein Dassenberg Small Holdings Area (KDSHA) spans roughly 7 000 ha of farmland south-east of Atlantis between the N7 highway and the old Mamre road. This stretch of lowlands encompasses the southern portions of the Dassenberg Coastal Catchment Partnership (DCCP), one of the province’s key climate change adaptation corridors for biodiversity conservation. Significant effort has gone into establishing connectivity corridors through the area with at least 15 private conservation sites registered to date conserving nine Critically Endangered species on the very brink of extinction. The challenge lies in restoring the degraded Fynbos systems within these connectivity corridors to an ecologically functional state. The first step in this process is invasive alien clearing and fencing off remnants from grazing animals to allow for the unhindered passive recovery of the indigenous vegetation communities, but also active restoration efforts. Fencing and alien invasive species clearing however is a technical, time-consuming and costly activity that land owners struggle with. The availability of dependable, external funding for the initial and first follow-up clearing of these alien, woody Acacia’s is crucial to the success of this initiative. The provincial Department Agriculture: LandCare programme has consistently part-funded a roaming alien clearing team that have to date cleared over 100 ha with an additional 50 ha planned up until 2020. To achieve this target a few funding gaps in the project needs to be addressed. Items such as replacement tools, protective clothing and daily chainsaw consumables have become a constant struggle as the project scope widens to incorporate more properties. The Table Mountain Fund has consistently been able to plug the gaps on an ad hoc basis in the past, but as of 2018, have committed to a 3-year partnership between the City of Cape Town: Biodiversity Management Branch, Wilderness Foundation: Africa (project implementation agent), the Department Agriculture: LandCare programme and the various participating land owners to help expand the project influence.

Credit: Louis du Preez

Ensuring the Survival of Iconic Species on Table Mountain 

Executant: Endangered Wildlife Trust
1 November 2018 – 31 October 2021

The Critically Endangered Table Mountain Ghost Frog (Heleophryne rosei) is restricted to only a few streams on the eastern and southern slopes of Table Mountain. The primary threats facing the species are reductions in steam volume, increased unreliability of water flows, erosion and siltation, loss of fynbos habitat as a result of alien vegetation and water abstraction. Through this project, the EWT will partner with all relevant local stakeholders to directly address these threats through improved habitat management to bring about a recovery of the Table Mountain Ghost Frog – a flagship for Table Mountain conservation interventions, which will benefit many other endemic species. 

Credit: Anahi Kent

Assessing climate change adaptation corridors for Table Mountain National Park: Integrating fine-scale taxon-based vulnerability assessment with Protected Area Planning

Executant: Wilderness Foundation Trust
1 February 2019 – 28 February 2022

Protected area managers have to respond to a range of pressures and threats. One of the most challenging is appropriately responding to climate change. This project seeks to apply the IUCN’s trait-based approach for assessing species’ climate change vulnerability at a scale meaningful to the protected area. This involves systematically considering species’ exposure to climate change and the biological traits or characteristics in Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).The aim will be to produce a species-level climate change vulnerability layer that can be used to inform TMNP planning and steer high intensity activities away from sensitive areas. This will also enable evaluation of appropriate management actions at species level, site-scale and landscape-scale. IUCN methods will be adapted and tested at fine scales, and available global species distributions will be validated locally.

Photo: Garth Mortimer

Biodiversity Stewardship Assistance.

Conservation at Work in partnership with CapeNature.

Through a generous grant from the Millennium Trust in 2011, the TMF has been supporting the CapeNature Biodiversity Stewardship Programme. The purpose of this project is to deliver stewardship assistance to landowners who have signed contracts with CapeNature declaring their properties or portions thereof “Contract Nature Reserves” or entering into “Biodiversity Agreements” by supporting landowners with training and knowledge sharing and in implementing management actions on the Stewardship sites which will benefit the biodiversity conservation of the properties. Through an elaborate partnership between CapeNature, Conservation@Work and TMF, the formal protected area network of the CFR has grown considerably over the years and the programme continues to grow.