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Biodiversity network

The City of Cape Town’s biodiversity network (BioNet) includes those areas that are the viable minimum needed to conserve a representative sample of Cape Town's unique biodiversity and thus promote sustainable development.

Cape Town has the unfortunate distinction of being the city with the highest number of threatened plant species in the world – almost a third of the threatened plants in the Cape floral kingdom are found within its boundaries. Of the 24 South African vegetation types rated as “Critically Endangered”, half are found in Cape Town. 

It is therefore essential that the City plans and directs housing to suitable areas, while balancing the needs of our precious natural heritage. The only option for sustainability and improved quality of life is to ensure that the built, cultural and natural environment is integrated.

During 2001/2002, a systematic conservation planning study was undertaken to identify the minimum number of sites required as a basis for a biodiversity network. During 2006, the network was updated using a remnant layer derived from aerial photography taken in 2005 and local vegetation types aligned to the latest national vegetation types. This enabled City conservation targets to be aligned with national conservation targets. The network was again updated in 2009 after extensive ground-truthing of all the remnants and re-analysed using the systematic conservation planning software.

Once implemented, this network will contribute to the City's goals of creating integrated human settlements by improving quality of life and creating easy access to safe natural areas; economic growth by creating tourism and job opportunities; development by ensuring sustainable use of natural and cultural resources.

Eighteen different national vegetation types occur in Cape Town, and of these, City conservation targets can be met for only nine. For the other vegetation types, all remaining natural remnants are important to secure a representative sample of the City’s biodiversity.

To view a map of the City's critical biodiversity areas and wetlands, click here. [JPG 1.2 MB]
To view a map of the City's protected and environmentally sensitive areas, click here. [JPG 2.2 MB]

Reports on the biodiversity network:

Conservation Implementation Plan (CIP) for Strandveld in the Metro South-East, Aug. 2012 [PDF 1.7 MB]
Cape Flats Dune Strandveld is one of six vegetation types endemic to Cape Town and therefore it can only be conserved within the City's boundaries. Over two million people (56% of the city’s population) live in the False Bay Strandveld area. The overall objective of the CIP is to identify a pragmatic set of areas that could be implemented for conservation as a matter of urgency while indicating some other natural areas that could be developed upon.

City of Cape Town Biodiversity Network: Methods and Results Technical Report 2011 (C-Plan and MARXAN analysis) [PDF 2.2 MB]
This report serves as a record of the methods and key results from the 2011 re-analysis of the City of Cape Town’s terrestrial Biodiversity Network (BioNet). The conservation planning software that was used to generate this analysis were C-Plan and MARXAN.

Biodiversity and Climate Change Assessment Report (Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) & City of Cape Town), Oct. 2011 [PDF 855 KB]
A report on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in Cape Town, along with current and future resilience measures and initiatives put in place by the City of Cape Town. Global climate change poses a significant threat to biodiversity and the City has a conservation plan (Biodiversity Network), which will ensure that climate change adaptation measures are incorporated as far as is possible.

City of Cape Town Biodiversity Network - Analysis: 2009 Methods and Results report, Dec. 2009 [PDF 1.3 MB]
This report serves as a record of the methods and key results from the 2009 re-analysis of the City of Cape Town’s Terrestrial Biodiversity Network (BioNet). The re-analysis was required due to the recent availability of information on the condition of the habitat remnants in the BioNet.

Prioritisation of City Wetlands report, Aug. 2009 [PDF 1.1 MB]
This report describes the methods used for the ranking of wetlands, according to a set of criteria that assess overall biodiversity “value”, within each of the 54 wetland types found in the city of Cape Town.

City Wetlands Map: Phase 5 - Ground-truthing and map update report [PDF 1.3 MB]
This report gives details on the 36 natural wetland types identified in the City of Cape Town and the accuracy of the desktop mapping based on the ground-truthing results.

City of Cape Town BioNet - Terrestrial Systematic Conservation Plan Re-Analysis: Methods and Results, Aug. 2008 [PDF 4.7 MB]
This report serves as a record of the methods and key results from the 2008 re-analysis of the City of Cape Town’s Terrestrial Biodiversity Network (BioNet). The re-analysis was requested due to the recent availability of information on the condition of the habitat remnants in the BioNet.

City of Cape Town Biodiversity Report 2008 [PDF 2.8 MB]
This report forms part of a set of biodiversity reports produced by participant cities of the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) Project worldwide. It represents a critical starting point: a status quo assessment of biodiversity and its management in each LAB city.

The Identification and Prioritisation of a Biodiversity Network for the City of Cape Town - Final Report, Feb. 2007 [PDF 5.9 MB]
This report specifically presents the results of the revised identification and prioritisation analyses of the City's Biodiversity Network. Detailed descriptions of the concepts of nodes, corridors and the conservation planning methodology processes followed since 2001, are provided as appendices to this report (below). An Executive Summary of the Final Report is also provided.

Appendix A [PDF 191 KB]
Appendix B [PDF 396 KB]
Appendix C [PDF 628 KB]
Final Report Executive Summary [PDF 5.6 MB]

For further information, contact:

Dr Patricia Holmes (Biophysical Specialist)
Tel: +27 (0)21 514 4185
Fax: +27 (0)21 511 1951

Please consider the environment before printing this web page.

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