Co-management in Biodiversity Conservation: A case in Western Cape, South Africa

Kobus Muller, CEC Specialty Group Leader, explores a co-management approach to biodiversity conservation in the Cape Floristic Region. He delivered this paper at the 28th International Congress of Administrative Sciences in Bali, Indonesia, 12-17 July 2010.

Kobus Muller Photo: CEC

Innovations for Biodiversity Conservation: the Case of the Conservation Stewardship Programme, Western Cape, South Africa


South Africa boasts one of the world’s richest and most diverse natural landscapes and is world renowned for its biodiversity. The Cape Floristic Region (CFR) particularly is the world’s sixth and smallest floral kingdom and the only one housed within the confines of a single country and predominantly within the Western Cape Province. There are more than 9000 plant species in this region which is half of South Africa’s total biodiversity in only 4% of the country’s surface area. This region is considered as one of the world’s 25 most threatened biodiversity hotspots with 2400 species considered threatened and another 300 species critically endangered. Most of the priority areas fell outside of existing statutory protected areas and mostly on privately owned land.

Conservation Stewardship is a co-management approach to biodiversity conservation based on a contractual agreement with government-backed economic incentives. For the purposes of this paper it is prudent to focus firstly on the co-management model as a governance approach; secondly on voluntary agreements (VAs) as a so-called New Environmental Policy Instrument (NEPI) sub-type within the context of environmental policy instruments; thirdly the enabling legislative and policy setting before the Conservation Stewardship programme in the Western Cape Province will be described, analysed and evaluated as a case study before finally, some concluding remarks will be drawn.

Full paper >

Professor Kobus Muller
School of Public Management and Planning
Stellenboch University

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