The Biodiversity & Wine Initiative is a partnership between the South African wine industry and the conservation sector. The goals are to minimise the further loss of threatened natural habitat, and to contribute to sustainable wine production, through the adoption of biodiversity guidelines by the South African wine industry.
This is achieved through identifying and enlisting interested producers as members or champions of the initiative, who will implement the biodiversity guidelines, conserve critical ecosystems and incorporate a biodiversity management into their winery activities.
Why and How?
The Cape Floral Kingdom (CFK) is the smallest yet richest plant kingdom on earth, and is international recognition as a global biodiversity hotspot. The CFK is also one of South Africa's World Heritage Sites. However, the CFK is under increasing threat from agriculture, urban development and invasive alien species, with only 9% of the unique Renosterveld and Lowland Fynbos ecosystems remaining, and much of the Succulent Karoo also under threat. Since 80% of the CFK is privately owned, landowner participation in conservation efforts is essential. The most effective method of reaching landowners is through the agricultural industries that they supply.
South Africa is the world's eighth largest producer of wine, contributing 3.5% of the global wine production. Because approximately 90% of wine production occurs within the CFK, concern is mounting that some of the region's most vulnerable natural habitat might be targeted for vineyard expansion. Following an initial study by the Botanical Society of South Africa and Conservation International, the wine industry and the conservation sector have embarked on a pioneering partnership to conserve the rich biodiversity of the CFK.
Through the BWI both the wine and conservation sectors benefit.
Wineries and wine farms can register and become a member of the BWI by contributing at least 2 ha of natural or restored natural area. As members earned additional recognition and status for their excellent track record of environmental responsibility they could become a BWI Champion. Three of the Cederberg Conservancy members are also members of the BWI, namely Cederberg Wines, Nuwerust and Vogelfontein, with the latter two making the largest contribution of natural environment to the BWI project.
For more information on BWI go to: WWF Conservation and Wine