Strategical Alien Removal Programme (SARP)

STRATEGIC ALIEN REMOVAL PROGRAM (SARP) | The GCF has proudly initiated an intensive alien vegetation removal program called SARP, in support of our focus on the restoration and protection of biodiversity in our region as well as our commitment to human welfare in our community. Our pilot program has been launched on Gondwana Game Reserve which falls under the Cape Floristic Region and is home to both Fynbos and Renosterveld biomes that are Critically endangered, the project has employed members of the local community to clear Black Wattle and has opened new economic opportunities for locals.

The Gondwana Conservation Foundation has cleared 1385ha of Black Wattle in the last year, helping to restore our natural water systems and uplift our community through job creation.

The Cape Floristic Kingdom is the smallest of the six floristic kingdoms in the world. It lies along the southwestern coast of South Africa stretching from Clanwilliam, in the Western Cape province, to Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape province. It covers a total area of about 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 square miles). This is an area of extraordinarily high biodiversity and endemism, and is home to over 9,000 vascular plant species, of which 69% are endemic. Much of this diversity is associated with the fynbos biome which is considered a biodiversity hotspot.

Globally, Alien Invasive Species (AIS) are of great concern as their effect is compounded by climate change. AIS negatively affect biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being. There are more than 300 Alien Invasive Plant Species in South Africa. Within the Cape Floristic Kingdom alone it is estimated that 21% of the untransformed areas have been invaded by alien vegetation with wetlands , strandveld and alluvial vegetation being the most affected.

After collecting data and assessing the environment, the GCF found that the biggest threat to biodiversity and water supply in our region in terms of alien invasive species, comes from Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii). Black wattle is engulfing our wetlands and seepage areas and depleting our water resources. In areas where Fynbos and Renosterveld should naturally occur, wattle forests reduce the land to dirt and deplete all naturally occurring biodiversity. Once these alien forests are established, nothing grows in these areas except for Black Wattle.

As a result of this data the GCF-SARP project established four testing sites on Gondwana where 70 hectares of Black Wattle were cleared by employing members of our local community.

During the clearing the GCF-SARP team tested different removal strategies (methods). The goal of the pilot project was to collect data on the cost of clearing, the available biomass as a result (amount of biomass), rate of regrowth after clearing, amount of regrowth and sustainable ways in which to follow up the clearing process as well as coming up with ideas on how the biomass can be used – charcoal / firewood etc. This led to the creation of an accurate budget per hectare for the removal of alien invasive species.

The all-round of effect of removing alien invasive species is pertinent to the health of our ecosystem and economy.

Removing alien vegetation is important for the conservation of our environment as well as benefiting all water users in our region. Not only does it lead to the restoration of biodiversity in critically endangered Fynbos & Renosterveld biomes and wetlands, clearing alien vegetation is important in fire management practice in the Cape Floristic Kingdom and the economic upliftment of our local communities. Clearing wattle is a labour-intensive job and has the potential to sustain many families in the Western Cape through job creation.

Get Involved or Donate

The GCF-SAPR long term goal is to eradicate all Alien Invasive Vegetation in the Southern cape of South Africa. We will be updating you on the projects developments regularly as we are excited to see the initiative grow. We rely on key stakeholders to propel and support the project. If you are interested in getting involved or funding the GCF-SARP project, please get int touch with us gcf@gondwanagr.co.za.

Donor Information

The Gondwana Conservation Foundation is a registered South African non-profit organization (130-852 NPO) and has applied for exemption from income tax in terms of section 10(1) and/or approval in terms of section 18A of the Income Tax Act, No 58 of 1962. The GCF is approved to issue Section 18A tax certificates for donations.

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