Land purchases of the like-for-like nature are not easily applied in the Cape Town urban environment and in some cases add a long delay onto the application process for developers. The Nature Care Fund (NCF) can be a recipient of funds for land acquisition and hold onto the funds until such time as potential site has been identified and negotiations taken place – in some cases amalgamating funds from several projects to maximise buying power.
In certain instances land that could be set aside on a proposed development is too small or too isolated to enable sound ecological functioning and the option of biodiversity offset capital may be chosen. This can come with a variety of objectives depending on the consultative process leading up to the Basic Assessment Report (BAR), and be governed by a number of desires from the I&AP and commenting authorities and may include, search and rescue, rehabilitation and/or like for like land purchase. The NCF is able to receive these funds and ring-fence them for the purchase or management of a site of similar veld type or biological importance. These funds can be invested to enable long-term growth or held in short term facilities until such time as other such funds arise to be amalgamated creating a larger pool of funds.
Key to viability and success of biodiversity offsets is site management in perpetuity and whilst protected area expansion is critical so too is the management of conservation sites. Activities on a site minimises the risk of squatting, dumping, veld fires, alien invasive plant spread and densification and enables multiplier effects. These include the placement of additional staff (EPWP etc.) and Nature Conservation students, commitment of resources and community buy-in to name a few.