About the Biosphere

Where is the Biosphere?

Cape West Coast - South Africa. The Cape West Coast Biosphere stretches northward from Diep River in Cape Town, South Africa to the Berg River and covers 378000 hectares of coastal lowland plains. It is unique in terms of its natural beauty, bio diversity, history, culture and location but the future of the area requires special management if it is to thrive.

Whe do we need a Biosphere?

Cape Town is rapidly developing northwards along the West Coast because, according to census, its population is projected to double between 2002 and 2012. Housing estates, industries and increased traffic through the area threaten to destroy its integrity and character. This conflict between urban, industrial and agricultural land uses and the terrestrial, marine and aquatic natural ecosystems requires careful planning and management to ensure socioeconomic growth. Why do we need a Biosphere Reserve and other key questions and answers.

Taking Action

Civil society on the West Coast recognised that urgent action was necessary to ensure that appropriate development plans be put into place. The decision was therefore made to proclaim the Cape West Coast Biosphere, supported by all three spheres of government. The UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme designated the area a biosphere reserve. The local and provincial government completed the formal designation procedure in November 2000 and it was ratified by the Minister of Environment and Tourism.

Future Plans

There are 459 biospheres globally, 65 of them in Africa and 4 in South Africa. All of them promote a balanced approach to the development of humans and the preservation of bio diversity in a particular region. The aim of the Cape West Coast Biosphere is to:

  • Foster human development that is ecologically sustainable.
  • Conserve the landscapes, vegetation and species of the West Coast
  • Lend support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development.
  • A strategic and associated business plan has been prepared to ensure that the goals of the biosphere are achieved.