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Author says why being a Kogelberger matters

As with animals, an ecosystem may also have a conservation status and some of the plants in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve are high on the endangered list.

How to help with conservation was the focus of a talk by Tim Attwell, author of Your Place in the Kogelberg, hosted at the Pringle Bay community hall on Friday 29 June.

Around 130 people enjoyed the talk arranged by the Rooiels Conservancy.

In his presentation Attwell mentioned the Kogelberg Sandstone Fynbos (listed in the National Biodiversity Management Act as Critically Endangered, like the Black Rhino); Hangklip Sand Fynbos (endangered); Bot River Protea (Protea compacta – Near Threatened); Prince of Whales Heath (Erica perspicua – Vulnerable) and the Pink Trewwa (Satyrium hallackii – Endangered). Of the 669 Biosphere Reserves worldwide, Kogelberg was the first in South Africa, proclaimed in 1998. It streches from Gordon’s Bay, along the coast to Kleinmond and over the mountains beyond Grabouw. Attwell’s message was that living in the Biosphere environment comes with a particular responsibility – that those who live in the area should act as its custodians whenever and wherever possible.

The three main Biosphere tasks are:

  • Conservation of landscapes, eco-systems, species and genetic variation.
  • Development of viable “green” economies and ecologically friendly and socio-culturally stable human communities, and
  • Logistical support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange relating to local, national and global conservation and development issues.

Some of the practical actions relating to conservation includes invasive alien control – go hacking; maintain water quality – use porous paving, avoid discharging pollutants, keep streams, wetlands and rivers natural and balance fire risk management with preservation of biodiversity.

Attwell shared the importance of planting indigenous fynbos gardens only, to avoid using fertilizers and pesticides, and to support not only environmental education initiatives in our area, but also local scientific research and researchers.

“It is also important to apply the ‘precautionary principle’ which is, ‘When uncertain, don’t go ahead with a development or change the natural land form and function’,” Attwell stressed.

Attwell’s Your Place in the Kogelberg was published recently. Some of the print run of 1 000 were donated to worthy causes in our area but you can buy a copy at Harold Porter Gardens and various bookshops in Kleinmond and Hermanus. A version translated into Afrikaans should be available soon.

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