Green Living

Biodiversity


Text Mariola Jakutowicz Fouché Photographs Graham Beck Wines Born of concern for the long-term viability of the Cape Floral Kingdom, within which the majority of our vines are grown, the wine industry and conservation sector joined forces to form the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI). It protects the fynbos-rich biodiversity of the Cape winelands’ natural habitats and encourages environmentally responsible viticulture. Graham Beck Wines in Robertson (one of 28 local BWI Champions) is bordered by the Graham Beck Private Nature Reserve, in the heart of the Breede River Valley’s succulent Karoo ecosystem. Its conservation manager, Mossie Basson, explains the company’s devotion to re-establishing harmony in nature. What prompted the establishment of a reserve? The Beck family set aside a large portion of the farm to be restored and conserved; the area has about 1 500 plant species, 115 endemic, that are vulnerable to increasing land-use pressures. Parts of the reserve are the only ones in the world that conserve the remnants of the Breede  Sand Fynbos vegetation type, classified as critically endangered. We believe that one generation’s solutions must not become the next generation’s problems. And the key aspects of the conservation plan? Our game guards April Adonis and Ntobeko Mhlungulwane are trained in conservation management, and do game monitoring and erosion control. Other aspects include: alien clearing and reintroducing indigenous plants; maintenance of roads and infrastructure; all waste treatment, environmental education; and photo points to keep track of our progress. Any favourite success stories? We discovered a novel plant species and named it after Graham Beck: Esterhuysenia grahambeckii. And the sparkling face of one of our farm kids when he managed to identify a spider from my field guide. This article was originally featured in the October 2013 issue of House and Leisure.