Year: 2010 Working paper number: 278 Author: Conradie, Beatrice Unit: SSU Abstract:
The Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE) produced an integrated development vision according to which conservation would deliver benefits for local communities. As pilot landscape initiative, Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) implemented the CAPE vision in a partnership that promoted sustainable wildflower and tourism industries, as well as a new model for off-reserve nature conservation. The fourth goal was to raise general conservation awareness in the community. Although the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area (SMA) is still experiencing significant teething problems, it already conserves more land than the Agulhas National Park and is attracting interest from outside the area. In contrast, the sustainable wildflower harvesting project has received the approval of the scientific community, but has limited appeal for landholders. The sustainable tourism project never took off, and it was decided to hold back on communication until ABI had "good news" to communicate. The overall participation rate in ABI's projects was 35% amongst landholders. The low participation rate could easily be attributed to the decision to scale down communication efforts or to the "unwilling landholder" hypothesis, but it is probably due a fundamental mutual misunderstanding of what landscape initiatives could and could not do for landholders.