SOUTH AFRICA – Southern Cape environmentalists and researchers are set to revisit long-term strategic planning during a seminar next week commemorating last year’s devastating Knysna fires.
The Southern Cape landowners initiative (SCLI), in collaboration with the sustainability research unit at the School of Natural Resource Management, Nelson Mandela University, will host the Garden Route Environmental Seminar.
The SCLI’s Cobus Meiring said tough questions would be asked in terms of planning for future urban expansion and on where the Southern Cape might be heading towards in terms of long-term planning against a backdrop of climate change.
“The 2017 Knysna fires served as an early wake-up call for the residents of the Southern Cape, and those responsible for future planning in the region agree that it can never again be business as usual,” said Meiring.
He said the SCLI had for years promoted the eradication of severe infestation of invasive alien plants in the region.
“What is already apparent is that there needs to be substantial social and community participation and training. This is where SCLI and the Garden Route rebuild initiative will focus our attention.”
Deadly fires ravaged the Knysna and Plettenberg Bay area, resulting in the largest convergence of firefighting personnel and resources at one incident in South Africa’s history.
SA Weather Services senior forecaster Lebohang Makgati said that cold fronts in the interior of the province caused strong winds, which had a danger of creating veld fires as in the 2017 fire.
“We record the data and our models show whether conditions indicate a strong chance of veld fires for the region.
“This information is then sent to the southern region’s disaster management, as well as the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, who will then look at the vegetation in the region,” she said.
The seminar will be hosted on June 6 and 7 in Brenton-on-Sea and for more information please visit the SCLI website at www.scli.org.za