Professor Robert Fincham presenting at the 2018 Southern Cape Landowners initiative (SCLI) Environmental Seminar 


The June 2018 Southern Cape Landowners initiative (SCLI) Environmental Seminar: A successful commemoration of the June 2017 fires and a SRU view of future actions.

The 16th annual Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) Commemorative Seminar revisited the devastation caused by the June 2017 fires. In so doing, it reflected on the remarkable ways in which the affected communities stood together in the wake of the fires, assessed the environmental restoration work undertaken and raised the need to confront the challenges of avoiding such environmental tragedies in the future. 


The seminar was focused strongly on the commemoration of the Knysna fires, but a broader perspective focused on longer term land management issues, such as climate change and the management of the urban and rural interface. SRU’s contribution was in the latter two areas. Professor Herve Fritz presented an exciting introduction to the value of Long Term Social Ecological Research (LTSER), a research trend now well established internationally and to which SRU will now be contributing.  He stressed the contribution that systemic long-term research can make to better management and decision- making in the environmental sector, as private and public sectors work collaboratively to ensure sustainable future landscapes in the Garden Route.

Professor Rob Fincham from the SRU and his co-author Stephen Stead from Visual Resource Management Africa, CC, raised the growing challenges of dramatic population increase in the Southern Cape, from both the rich and the poor. Without strengthening governance in the Garden Route and a much greater focus on ensuring living, rather than the evolution of sterile landscapes, unsustainable pressure on the natural infrastructure and resources in the area will be the sober reality.  Cobus Meiring, the SCLI seminar coordinator, echoed the sentiments of the presentation by saying that ‘we are running the risk of losing a lot of the allure of the Garden Route, should we fail to plan around the trends that are already showing.’