People, the Cape Floristic Region, and sustainability

Nicky Allsopp, Pippin M.L. Anderson, Patricia M. Holmes, Annalie Melin and Patrick J. O’Farrell

in Fynbos

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780199679584
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191791949 | DOI:
People, the Cape Floristic Region, and sustainability

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This chapter examines the impact the City of Cape Town, a growing city in the megadiverse Cape Floristic Region, has on biodiversity and ecosystem services within and beyond its boundaries. A brief history of the impacts of people on nature in this region is provided which argues that these are not divorced from social, economic, and political factors. These in turn influence people’s perceptions of nature. Impacts are examined through the lenses of housing a growing city and provisioning the city. Many regulatory and cultural ecosystem services are best managed within the boundaries of the city. Provisioning ecosystem services such as food and water are largely provided by the environment around the city. Urbanization and agriculture have tended to reduce the multiple services that a landscape can deliver, while threatening one-of-a-kind biodiversity. Water, a limited resource, is further constrained by invasive species and activities which pollute or disrupt the water cycle. Measures to ensure sustainability of delivery of ecosystem goods and services from natural resources, while ensuring that biodiversity is secured, are assessed. These include initiatives at local and national government, business, NGO, and individual levels. For measures towards sustainability to be effective, evidence suggests that people’s values need to be considered. Ethical, social, and economic criteria need to be considered alongside environmental ones in determining pathways to sustainability, and trade-offs may be necessary in developing options that best meet multiple objectives.

Keywords: ecosystem service; Cape Town; perception of nature; Cape Floristic Region; urbanization; pathway to sustainability

Chapter.  17230 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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