The Biodiversity Management Branch team of Cape Town Recreation and Parks Department is working to restore the Cape Flats Sand Fynbos on Meadowridge Common’s smaller patch in the north-western corner. This is a collaboration, including the City of Cape Town Recreation and Parks Department, SANBI Kirstenbosch Millennium Seed Bank (who will assist with restoration post-burn), and Friends of Meadowridge Common. The Meadowridge Common Conservation Area is a Biodiversity Agreement site, and therefore needs to be actively managed to conserve the remnant patches of Critically Endangered, endemic Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. This fynbos vegetation type is both fire-prone and fire-dependent, meaning that it is both flammable (and therefore poses a fire risk if not managed) and needs to burn periodically (every 10-12 years) to stay healthy and survive. This patch of fynbos has not burnt since 2003, and as a result is in a degraded, moribund condition. This also has knock-on negative effects on animals, especially as there are fewer fynbos flowers to provide a healthy food source (nectar) for pollinators. Most fynbos animals have adapted their life cycles and behaviour to summer fires. Nature conservationists try to look at the ‘bigger picture’ and use best practice when it comes to veld management and ecological interventions that will benefit the ecosystem as a whole. Please note only a portion (c. 1.23ha) of the conservation area (5.89ha) is planned to be burnt this year.
The ecological burn has been well planned and will be conducted by the City’s Biodiversity Management Branch, with assistance from City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, and Recreation and Parks Department. Residents will be notified a week in advance, but the actual date depends on weather conditions. The window period for the burn is from 1st Feb. till 31st March and will take place on a single day.