The Gouritz Initiative
is one of several landscape initiatives
. In addition to fynbos, the area includes forest, succulent karoo, thicket and Nama-karoo vegetation, and falls under the Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Programme
as well as the C.A.P.E. programme. Its domain stretches from the Great Karoo to the sea, using the Gouritz River and its tributaries as the backbone - an area rich in biological diversity, with a fascinating geological and fossil history.
The vision of the initiative is that by the year 2020 a Gouritz Biodiversity Corridor will support a system of sustainable living landscapes that is representative of the region's biodiversity through the co-existence of all stakeholders. The Gouritz Biodiversity Corridor is not a massive State-owned reserve, but one made up of partnerships between existing nature reserves and private landowners who are encouraged to adopt conservation-conscious farming methods and where possible, to set aside portions of conservation-worthy land to be conserved.
Community development is high on the agenda, with CapeNature and other partners working to establish partnerships with the local communities around tourism route development, alien plant eradication, an ostrich and biodiversity initiative and leopard research projects.
co-ordination of the initiative
The Gouritz Biodiversity Corridor forms part of a Collaborative Extension Group with representation from all key partners, including government departments, landowners, non-governmental organizations and municipalities in the Klein Karoo.
The Gouritz Forum, an information sharing and capacity building forum, meets quarterly and includes a large number of stakeholders. The Gouritz Initiative management team is currently leading the application process for the establishment of the Gouritz Biosphere Reserve. A Section 21 company has been established which will host the Gouritz Initiative Biosphere Reserve Actions required to formalise the company, including electing directors, establishing memberships, governance and solving legalities of the Biosphere, were discussed at a Gouritz Initiative Forum held in 2011.
The Corridor is currently evaluating the opportunities for cooperation between two different landscape conservation initiatives. The Gouritz Corridor are currently funded and implemented by CapeNature. The Gouritz website
provides more detail on the initiative, its strategies, focus areas and projects involved.