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Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI)

The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) is one of several landscape initiatives in the Cape Floristic Region. It integrates and coordinates efforts to minimise the further loss of threatened natural habitats on the Agulhas Plain.

ABI is implemented by a number of partners who have agreed to work together and pool their resources to conserve biodiversity and ecosystems on the Agulhas Plain. Through their efforts they want to make sure that benefits flow to the local economy through activities such as responsible nature-based tourism and the sustainable harvesting of the natural veld. The area of approximately 270 000 hectares near the southernmost point of Africa is a mosaic of agricultural land separated by stretches of rare and endemic coastal lowland fynbos and wetlands.

Some landowners have conserved their land and veld for many years, but at the start of ABI only 14% of the Agulhas Plain was conserved under legally binding arrangements. Through stewardship agreements with landowners and the expansion of the Agulhas National Park, this figure now stand at 37% (102 000 hectares). At least 40% of this area is privately owned, which reinforces the important role that landowners and the agricultural sector play in conservation.

The fynbos of the Agulhas Plain is of global significance, therefore ABI was able to source funds from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for its preservation. Substantial funding has also come from the ABI partners. The ABI programme supports the Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.), another GEF-funded programme.