Protecting Nature's Hotspots for people and prosperity

Cape Floristic

Tab 1

Common sugarbush protea, Cape Florisitic Region

CEPF is no longer active in this region.

The Cape Floristic Biodiversity Hotspot is home to the greatest non-tropical concentration of higher plant species in the world. More than 6,200, or 69 percent, of its 9,000 species of plants are unique to th​is biodiversity hotspot.

Hugging the coastline along the far southwestern tip of the African continent, this 78,555-square-kilometer hotspot lies entirely within South Africa. Given its small size, it is remarkable for containing 3 percent of the world’s plant species. However, only 15,711 square kilometers of the natural vegetation remains intact.

The loss and degradation of biodiversity has serious implications for South Africa's society and economy. Natural ecosystems are responsible for many essential services for people, such as the provision of clean water and air, prevention of soil erosion and pollination of crops. Large portions of the country’s economy are also heavily dependent on natural resources.

The greatest threat to biodiversity in the Cape Floristic Region is agricultural and urban expansion. Agricultural land use has already consumed 26 percent of the region and devastated lowland areas. The invasion of alien species is also an enormous threat.

Our support focuses on the three mega-reserve areas of Cederberg, Gouritz and Baviaanskloof and the last remaining areas of natural vegetation in the lowlands beyond the Agulhas Plain.

WWF-South Africa and the Table Mountain Fund
The Table Mountain Fund is changing the face of conservation in South Africa by building a diverse, skilled and motivated force of young professionals. The placements of these young professionals, have allowed each of them a unique and incredibly valuable opportunity to nurture their talent.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Tab 2

Rooibos tea harvest


Our investment in the Cape Floristic Region began in December 2001. We focused on catalyzing action by nongovernmental organizations, community groups and other civil society partners on the most urgent priorities identified by Cape Action for People and the Environment (C.A.P.E.), a 20-year strategy for conservation and sustainable development of the Cape Floristic Region.

Guided by an ecosystem profile developed with stakeholders, we complemented other funding sources to strengthen the capacity of civil society to help implement C.A.P.E., which is now a national program. Four strategic directions guided our approach:

  1. Support civil society involvement in the establishment of protected areas and management plans in biodiversity corridors.
  2. Promote innovative private sector and community involvement in conservation in landscapes surrounding biodiversity corridors. 
  3. Support civil society efforts to create an institutional environment that enables effective conservation action.
  4. Establish a small grants fund to build capacity among institutions and individuals working on conservation.

In 2008, we began implementing a fifth strategic direction to reinforce and sustain the gains made possible by our initial $6 million investment. This new strategic direction includes $1.65 million in targeted grants to eight organizations based on a consolidation plan drawing from the ecosystem profile and an assessment of our previous investment.

Results from our first phase of funding include improved management of more than 1 million hectares of protected areas, production landscapes and private land.

Other highlights include strengthened policies and guidelines for biodiversity and sustainable development, particularly in the Western Cape. These include the Western Cape Provincial Spatial Development Framework, policies and procedures for stewardship, codes of practice, area-wide planning in agriculture for the integrated production of wine and a policy framework for ensuring that biodiversity priorities are included in Integrated Development Plans for municipalities.

Tab 3

1. Support civil society involvement in the establishment of protected areas and management plans in biodiversity corridors 1.1  Through civil society efforts identify and design innovative mechanisms and strategies for conservation of private, corporate or communal landholdings within biodiversity corridors
1.2  Support private sector and local community participation in the development and implementation of management plans for biodiversity corridors
1.3  Especially within the Gouritz and Cederberg corridors, identify priority landholdings requiring immediate conservation action
2. Promote innovative private sector and community involvement in conservation in landscapes surrounding  biodiversity corridors 2.1  Promote civil society efforts to establish and support biodiversity-based businesses among disadvantaged groups, in particular in areas surrounding the Gouritz and Baviaanskloof corridors
2.2  Implement best practices within industries affecting biodiversity, e.g. the wine and flower industries
3. Support civil society efforts to create an institutional environment that enables effective conservation action 3.1  Support civil society efforts to consolidate data to support appropriate land use and policy decisions
3.2  Support civil society initiatives to integrate biodiversity concerns into policy and local government procedures in priority municipalities
3.3  Improve coordination among institutions involved in conservation of biodiversity corridors through targeted civil society interventions
4. Establish a small grants fund to build capacity among institutions and individuals working on conservation 4.1  Support internships and training programs to raise capacity for conservation, particularly targeting previously disadvantaged groups
4.2  Support initiatives to increase technical capacity of organizations involved in  conservation, particularly in relation to the priority geographic areas
5. Reinforce and sustain the conservation gains achieved as a result of the initial 5-year CEPF investment in this region

5.1  Consolidate and strengthen implementation efforts for corridor conservation
5.2  Improve project development and implementation through support to grassroots communities
5.3  Support the sharing of lessons learned across and beyond corridors
5.4  Engage with the business sector
5.5  Develop capacity in implementing agencies
5.6  Secure support from government

Tab 4

Cape Floristic Region Biodiversity Hotspot



Tab 5

Core Documents
Monitoring & Evaluation


  • Biodiversity & Wine Initiative Newsletter 
    - January 2009
    English (PDF - 1.2 MB)
    - September 2008
    English (PDF - 243KB)
    - Vol. 2, Issue 3 December 2007
    English (PDF - 490 KB) 
    - Vol. 2 Issue 2 July 2007
    English (PDF - 1.68 MB) 
    - Vol. 2 Issue 1 January 2007
    English (PDF - 1.5 MB) 
    - Vol. 1 Issue 1 September 2006
    English (PDF - 339 KB)

  • Blaauwberg Conservation Area BCA Focus Newsletter
    - April-June 2005
    English (PDF - 383 KB)
    - January-March 2005
    English (PDF - 289 KB)
    - July-September 2004
    English (PDF - 272 KB)
    - April-June 2004
    English (PDF - 339 KB)
    - January-March 2004
    English (PDF - 147 KB)

  • Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE) E-News
    - March 14, 2013
    English​ (PDF - 711 KB) 

  • CAPE Environment Newsletter
    - Vol. 3, 2008
    English (PDF - 315 KB)
    - Vol. 2, 2008
    English (PDF - 248 KB)
    - Vol. 1, 2008
    English (PDF - 331 KB)
    - Volume 4, October - December 2006
    English (PDF - 382 KB)

  • The Cape Leopard Trust Newsletter
    - June 2007
    English (PDF - 178 KB)
    - April 2007
    English (PDF - 37 KB)

  • Circus Newsletter
    - April 2005 Issue
    English (PDF - 167 KB)
    - Issue 1, July 2004
    English (PDF - 193 KB)

  • Coordinated Avifauna Roadcounts Project
    - Newsletter 34, June 2013
    English (PDF - 1.5 MB)
    - Newsletter 33, December 2012
    English (PDF - 1 MB)
    - Newsletter 25, December 2008
    English (PDF - 717 KB)
    - Newsletter 24, June 2008
    English (PDF - 701 KB)
    - Newsletter archive

  • Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW) Newsletter
    - Vol. 2 November 2006
    English (PDF - 1.4 MB)
    - News from the Bredasdorp
    English (PDF - 183 KB)

  • Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative Newsletter
    - Winter 2007
    English (PDF - 256 KB)

  • Friends of Tokai Forest Newsletter
    - December 2005
    English (PDF - 92 KB)
    - July 2004
    English (PDF - 143 KB)

  • Garden Route Botanical Garden Trust Newsletter
    - December 2005
    English (PDF - 331 KB)
    - October 2004
    English (PDF - 571 KB)
    - March 2004
    English (PDF - 743 KB)

  • Nature's News
    - April 2009, English (PDF - 1.15 MB)
    - September 2007, English (PDF - 204 KB)
    - August 2006, English (PDF - 981 KB)
    - November 2005, English (PDF - 1 MB)
    - August 2005, English (PDF - 865 KB)

  • Survey of Cederberg Amphibians & Reptiles for Conservation & Education newsletter
    SCARCE Talk

  • St Francis Conservancy Project Newsletter
    - December 2005
    English (PDF - 255 KB)
    - November 2004
    English (PDF - 269 KB)
    - April 2004
    English (PDF - 297 KB)
    - January 2004
    English (PDF - 235 KB)
    - September 2003
    English (PDF - 279 KB)

  • WESSA at Work
    - April 2013
    English​ (PDF - 1.54 MB)
    - February 2013
    English (PDF - 2.4 MB)
    - January 2013
    English​ (PDF - 1.9 MB)

Other Publications

  • Summary of the Tax Incentives in Support of Protected Areas Expansion and Securing Threatened Ecosystems, Botanical Society Conservation Unit,  English (PDF - 175 KB)

  • Biodiversity & Wine Initiative:
    -  Brochure, English (PDF - 2.8 MB)
    - Lessons Learnt by the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative During the 2004-2006 Pilot Phase, December 2006, English (PDF - 49 KB)

  • Biodiversity Best Practice Guidelines for Rooibos Production
    Aimed at Rooibos farmers, buyers and packers, this document provides practical guidelines for achieving good environmental practices and conserve biodiversity in the Sandveld, English (PDF - 1 MB)
  • Biodiversity early warning systems: South African citizens monitoring change, English​ (PDF - 4.09 MB)
  • C.A.P.E. Project Planning: Tools for biodiversity conservation and development projects, 2007, English (PDF - 1.82 MB)

  • Conservation Stewardship:
    - Conservation Stewardship: Options for Landowners, English (PDF - 1.75 MB)
    - Conservation Stewardship: Pilot Projects in the Swartland and Overberg, English (PDF - 1.85 MB)
    - Landowner Negotiation Workshop Report, English (PDF - 1.4 MB)

  • Networking People and Nature in the City, English (PDF - 2.4 MB), Cape Flats Nature Partnership

  • Planning for Living Landscapes: Perspectives and Lessons from South Africa
    English (PDF - 2.9 MB), Botanical Society of South Africa

  • Potato Production in the Sandveld English (PDF - 2.6 MB)
    These biodiversity best practice guidelines are designed to help farmers maximize financial and agricultural results while limiting impact on natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and promoting ecologically sustainable farming practices
    English (PDF - 2.6 MB)

  • Sustainable Rooibos Initiative: A Sustainable Production Strategy for the South African Rooibos Tea Initiative, English (PDF - 780 KB)

  • The Utility, Application and Viability of Collective Land Management as a Tool for Conservation, Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, English (PDF - 145 KB)

Tab 6

Fast Facts

​Status: Closed  

Initial investment: 
  • $6 million 
  • 2001-2006 
  • 54 grants  
  • $1.65 million 
  • 2008-2011 
  • 51 grants
Regional Resources
Photos: Common sugarbush protea © CI/Photo by Haroldo Castro; Rooibos tea harvesting © Bettina Koelle; Cape sugarbird © Sean Benjamin, Arc Images