Biodiversity Specialist Appointed Chair of CapeNature | Western Cape Government


Biodiversity Specialist Appointed Chair of CapeNature

31 January 2008
Today in Cape Town, Tasneem Essop, the Western Cape MEC for Environment, Planning and Economic Development, said that Mark Botha, a current CapeNature board member and Director of Conservation at the Botanical Society of SA, had been appointed Chairperson of the Western Cape Conservation Board and that she believed that the appointment of a biodiversity and conservation specialist is exactly what the Board required at this time.

Essop said that his nomination was strongly motivated by his fellow board members and that she believed CapeNature staff would welcome the appointment of a biodiversity and conservation specialist.

“We all know that the Western Cape’s unique biodiversity is being threatened by extreme events, such as fires, droughts and flooding, and many of these are being exacerbated by climate change. So our challenges in managing biodiversity in this these next few years will be made much harder! I also believe that Mark has a very firm understanding of legislative, policy and institutional issues and as such will be a respected and trusted partner, especially with regards to CapeNature’s partnerships with Working on Fire, The Department of Water and Forestry (DWAF), Working with Wetlands and others.

Mark Botha matriculated (1988) from St Stithians College in Sandton and holds an MSc in Botany (2001) from the University of Cape Town. His thesis title was the ‘Dynamics of two South African Floodplain Forests’.

He has also worked on community conservation and development projects in Maputaland, Mozambique and Australia.

Since 1999 he has managed programmes for the Botanical Society at Kirstenbosch investigating incentives to conserve threatened ecosystems and developing tools for off-reserve conservation on private land. This work has included training conservation agency staff in the application of stewardship on private land and developing policy options and legislative mechanisms for stewardship. His other interests include the development of innovative land trusts, direct payment for environmental services and biodiversity offsets from large developments.

He has served as CapeNature board member since May 2005, is currently the deputy chair of the C.A.P.E Implementation Committee and was the chairperson of the Fynbos Forum Committee on Conservation Incentives from 2000 until 2004.

Botha has taken over the reins of the Conservation Board after the previous Chairperson, Christopher Clarke, resigned to pursue personal business interests. Essop said that Clarke had played a critical role in stabilising the agency and had initiated a turnaround strategy which was now being implemented across CapeNature.

Issued by:
Tasneem Essop
Minister of Environment, Planning and Economic Development
Provincial Government of the Western Cape

For further information contact:

Nils Flaatten
Ministerial Spokesperson
Ministry of Environment, Planning and Economic Development
083 708 7119

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