WWF programme seeks to reduce Cape wine farms’ strain on floral kingdom biodiversity

Friday, 29 October, 2021
Daily Maverick, Onke Ngcuka
Wine farmers in the Cape Winelands are increasingly turning to alternative farming methods, which are helping to preserve the two global biodiversity hotspots in the region.

About 95% of South Africa’s wines are produced in the Cape Winelands, which is in the Cape Floral Kingdom and includes the Succulent Karoo biome. Unesco has recognised it as one of the world’s six floral kingdoms and it is the smallest and most diverse plant kingdom.

But as the wine industry expands, currently contributing R55-billion to the GDP, increased agricultural productivity has brought about a disturbance to the region, threatening its biodiversity.

The agricultural sector, through increased production, is also notorious for its contribution to the climate crisis, contributing about 17% of global emissions.

Now a conservation programme by the WWF seeks to ensure that wine farms decrease their strain on the environment and produce wine in harmony with nature and its needs.

Bridget Johnsen, conservationist for Vondeling Wines, told DM168 that the climate crisis was increasing the threat to ecosystems that sustain humanity. She said the farm had 35 plants listed on the endangered list, eight of which are critically endangered.

“Increased frequency and intensity of fires makes it vital that the fuel and heat generated in fires involving alien vegetation is kept to a minimum, to minimise impacts of too-frequent or uncontrollable wildfires.

“The forecast of more droughts and increased daily temperatures will seriously impact the wildfire risk and water resources available for agriculture in this already water-constrained region,” Johnsen said.

Click HERE to read the full article

A lake view of Vondeling Farm
A lake view of Vondeling Farm

more news