CONSERVATION

Within the Cape Floral Kingdom, the Overberg area constitutes the smallest plant kingdom in the world with the greatest number of different species, some 9000, of which many can be found nowhere else on earth. The Strandveld Agulhas Plain is significantly unique amongst the Overberg habitats being both rich in biodiversity and consisting mostly of Fynbos and Renosterveld. Additionally, of the 800 known species of Erica in the world more than 80% can be attributed to the Cape Floral Kingdom.

As a proud member of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI), Strandveld Vineyards aims to conserve and integrate delicate Fynbos ecosystems surrounding the vineyards. Integral in the farm’s commitment to protecting natural habitat was the removal of Port Jackson trees along the waterways and the successful eradication of 59 ha of invasive Pine trees. Buffer zones between crops are now found flourishing with an abundant range of flora, and aflutter with a wide variety of bird and insect life.

Strandveld Vineyards also forms part of a collective-initiative consisting of 25 private landowners and local communities referred to as the Nuwejaars Wetlands special management area (SMA). Aimed at sustainably overseeing protection of the precious wetlands and their indigenous populations, this unique conservation model has already seen some 46000 hectares of critically endangered habitat on the Agulhas Plain now being used sustainably and in accordance with triple bottom line principles, with the main aim being to find balance between environmental integrity, human well being and economic efficiency within the area. Hand-in-hand with these conservation efforts are sustainable farming practices, all of which lend themselves to the protection of endangered plants and animals whilst ensuring food security.

This collaborative community is the first of its kind in Southern Africa, all members first agreed to title deed restrictions in ensuring the continuance of sustainable conservation principles. Accordingly, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has already expressed an interest in the Nuwejaars Wetlands SMA as a working example of its Man and Biosphere Programme.