S.A. LOMBARD NATURE RESERVE

Master Management Plan

Vision, Policies and Operating Guidelines


Contents

The planning process
Overview of the SA Lombard Nature Reserve
Overall vision and objectives of the Reserve
Park management policy and operating guidelines
Natural resources and ecological management policy and operating guidelines
Zonation policy and operating guidelines
Infrastructure policy and operating guidelines
Private sector partnerships policy and operating guidelines
Community and social policy and operating guidelines

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The Planning Process

The policies and vision are the initial part of the planning process for each formally protected area under the jurisdiction of the North West Parks and Tourism Board (NWP&TB). They provide management with the broad strategic direction necessary to manage this Park. These strategies are expected to remain relatively constant over the short to medium term and they provide the basis for secondary, more detailed planning components that include:

· A development plan which would identify the infrastructure and resources required to realise the objectives and policies articulated in the vision.
· An associated business plan to ensure the financial sustainability of the Reserve and the achievement of the objectives.
· An operational plan and manuals which would identify functions to be performed, by whom and at what frequency.
· An operating budget for the Park as set out in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) of Government.

The vision and policies impose a responsibility on park management that carries concomitant responsibility by the Board to assist and support management in achieving the envisaged objectives.

Parks in the North West Province are not planned and operated in isolation. Each plays a co-ordinated role in achieving collectively the objectives of the North West Parks and Tourism Board Act No. 3 of 1997, namely:

· To establish and manage parks to conserve representative indigenous biodiversity.
· To promote tourism in the Province.
· To encourage people from elsewhere to visit the province.
· To promote travel services and facilities in the province.
· To encourage the people within the province to travel.

The vision and policies were compiled at inter-active workshops involving park management, other stakeholders and interested parties combined with an open public participation process.

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Overview of SA Lombard Nature Reserve

Area: 3 660 ha

Locality: Situated 17 km north-west of Bloemhof.

Main features: Breeding Reserve for game species, game-viewing and hunting.

Visitors: The number of visitors per annum is not recorded.

facilities: Self-catering guesthouse

Environmental and economic ranking out of 15 NW parks:

Environmental score: 11th most important
Economic score: 15th most important

Staff: Grades 1-5 (management): 0
Grades 6-10 (middle management): 1
Grades 11-15 (semi-skilled): 5
Grades 16 and above (unskilled): 6
Total: 11

Finance (2001/2002 budget)

  Rand % of Exp.
Staff expenditure 494 767 96%
Other expenditure 20 538 4%
TOTAL EXPENDITURE 515 305 100%
Tourism income 3 211 1%
Concessions income 0 0%
Game income 22 750 4%
Other income 37 240 7%
TOTAL INCOME 63 201 12%
LOSS (452 104) 88%

The following table shows historical financial comparisons:

  1998/99 1999/00 2000/01
Expenses 794 290 641 435 520 000
Income 11 200 76 000 182 000
Profit (loss) (783 090) (565 435) (338 000)

Infrastructure:
Staff accommodation
Offices, workshops and laboratory
Game holding pens
Houses
Roads
Fence

Estimated value of infrastructure: More than R4.7 million.

Game (1999 census)

Game species

Number

Rands per unit

Total value

Blesbok 9 400 3 600

Springbok

272 175 47 600

Impala

8 350 2 800

Red Hartebeest

112 1 560 174 720

Black wildebeest

351 1 450 508 950

Total

    870 770

Game handling facilities may offer an opportunity for breeding rare species suited to the area. The low ecological and economic importance of the Reserve suggests a major change in planning strategy in order to allow the Reserve to contribute to the objectives of the NWP&TB.

Partnerships

In keeping with the policy of the North West Parks and Tourism Board, SA Lombard enjoys partnership relationships with a number of other public and private organisations. The following table itemises these organisations and lists the benefits that are expected to arise from the partnerships.

 
Partners
Potential benefit
Date
Conservation partnerships Game production organisations Greater income 2 years
Tourism partnerships
None    
Income generating partnerships
Concessions
Game management partners
Leases
Income to cover expenditure Within 3 years

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Overall vision and objectives for the Reserve

SA Lombard Nature Reserve has a number of attributes. These are itemised below and form the basis for the development of the vision for the Reserve.

Attributes:

· An 'in-tact' floodplain although much of the surrounding floodplain has been mined
· Elements of the Cymbopogon-Thembda veld, although there are large areas of old cultivated lands
· Has excellent game management infrastructure and general accommodation
· Alleged to be the first Reserve proclaimed in the Transvaal
· Has excellent potential for game production
· Housed the problem animal research unit
· Large number of stone age implements in the area
· Has several pans
· Good potential for research and hunting school.

Vision:

To manage the vegetation and natural features sustainably so as to maximise game production and to realise the full potential the other infrastructure to contribute to the objectives of the NWP&TB.

From this vision a number of key objectives where identified which would form the basis of prioritising management activities within and around the Reserve. These objectives are:

Objectives:

· to manage the indigenous wildlife populations to maximise production and income generation, while conserving the structure, function and compositio of the floodplain and 'undisturbed' grasslands within SA Lombard;
· to ensure that the infrastructure is maintained and used in line with the overall vision;
· to manage the area in a cost efficient manner in line with the budget limitations, Board policies and procedures;
· to interact with neighbours and other parties to try and improve the extent and conservation status of the grassland, floodplain and pan habitats;
· to ensure the cultural and archaeological heritage of the area is conserved.
· to make the area and facilities available for research and other educational opportunities in line with the vision.

SA Lombard is currently being threatened by small-scale diamond mining operations. These have impacted severely on the surrounding areas.

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Park management policy and operating guidelines

Policy

Management of the SA Lombard Nature Reserve should be achieved through efficient use of resources in the most cost effective manner by implementing systems for planning, organisation and control.

Within the Board's policies and procedures the Warden is charged with overall responsibility for the ecological, human resource, tourist and financial management of the SA Lombard Nature Reserve as well as Reserve related community issues. These will be carried out in accordance with the policies and guidelines in this document and within the social environment in which the SA Lombard Nature Reserve exists.

Operating guidelines

The Warden is to ensure that operational plans and procedures are in place to achieve the vision, objectives and policies defined in this document. If performance cannot be achieved, then remedial action must be recommended, and this may include enlisting other Board resources. The operational plans and procedures must ensure continuity between Wardens.

Management control and efficiency

The Warden must establish a system of monitoring and recording all aspects of the Reserve so that control can be exercised and management improved.

Reserve Assets

All Board assets are to be adequately protected and maintained in working order and used only to contribute to the vision, goals and objectives spelt out in this document. Any relevant Board policies and procedures, such as insurance procedures, must be adhered to.

Human Resources

The Warden will ensure that all NWP&TB staff are employed according to the policies and procedures laid down by the Board from time to time. A respectful efficient working environment must be created for all staff, both Board and others, working in the Reserve.

Funding

The funding of the Reserve developments and operations will be sourced in accordance with the needs of the respective benefiting parties.

Any private sector initiatives or developments must be funded from their own sources.
Financial management

Operating income at SA Lombard Nature Reserve will be increased until it covers operating costs which themselves must be reduced. This should be achieved within a three-year period and financial plans need to be drafted to ensure that this will be achieved by the start of the 2004/5 financial year.

All operational and development expenditure must be undertaken in an environmentally responsible and financially prudent manner in line with the Board's policies and procedures.

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Natural resources and ecological management policy and operating guidelines

Policy

The ecological management will focus on the conservation of biological and genetic diversity and the maintenance of the dynamic natural processes to ensure environmental stability and to enhance the visitor experience and maximize income.

Where necessary and appropriate, the natural resources will be used in a sustained and responsible manner in line with the key objectives of the Reserve.

Operating guidelines

Soil

Most of the soils of the SA Lombard Nature Reserve are not highly erodible and management actions will be directed towards intervening to reduce any erosion arising from bad planning and design of infrastructure.

Reclamation will be directed primarily at those areas that pose the greatest threat to the key objectives of the Reserve.

Water

The functional integrity of the floodplain and surrounding catchments will be maintained to ensure an optimum yield of high quality water from the SA Lombard Nature Reserve.

Vegetation

The flora in the 'undisturbed areas' (see zonation below) will be managed so as to maintain the compositional diversity of the Cymbopogon Themda veld at a state which maximizes sustained game production within the constraints of its abiotic limitations. Those in 'disturbed areas' may have more radical interventions aimed at increasing production for game, provided these are sustainable.

Burning

Fire will be used to achieve the objectives of the SA Lombard Nature Reserve and specifically those set for vegetation and game management and water production.

It will also be used to keep fuel loads of the vegetation low so as to reduce the risk of uncontrolled fires. Firebreaks and other fire control measures that may be required by law will be implemented where necessary and appropriate.

Alien plants

It is recognized that alien plants are a significant part of the South African landscape and that total eradication may not always be feasible. However, alien vegetation remains at low densities in the Reserve and priority should therefore be directed at eradication, especially those species which impact most significantly and which can be controlled within budget limitations.

Herbicides

Management efficiency can often be increased with the use of herbicides. However these should only be used after thorough screening and evaluation.

Fauna

The objective is to maximise production and profit from large game species, suited to the area, and which have been identified as being important species by the Board. This will be achieved within the constraints of the vegetation within the Reserve. However supplementary feeding may be required if it is deemed to be cost effective.

Carrying capacity

The stocking rate of the area will be set at economic carrying capacity to maximise production per animal, however an upper limit of 10ha per Large Stock Unit (LSU) will be placed on the herbivore population. This will be allocated to the following feeder categories in the following percentages.

Mixed feeders Max 50%
Bulk Feeders Min 50%
Species composition

The major objective is to produce animals and maximise profit, for this reason the species composition will be determined according to the availability of game species, their suitability to the area and their potential economic return. The sex and age structure of the population will also be set to maximise production.

Introductions and translocations

Any introductions of indigenous species must ensure they do not carry any disease or genetic incompatibility which may impact on existing populations and must be done with the authorisation of other Departments.

Domestic animals

No domestic animals will be permitted to reside in the Reserve. Staff may be allowed their own domestic animals provided these do not pose any threat to or compete with the indigenous wildlife. Disease control is critically important and no animal must compromise the health of the stock in the Reserve.

Monitoring

Monitoring of the production of the game populations is critical, this must be adequate to identify poor performance which must be investigated and action taken to remedy it. This may involve monitoring intensively at the level of the individual animal, at least monthly. The vegetation must also be monitored to ensure species composition and production is maintained within the floral objectives to meet the faunal objectives.

Use of Natural Resources

Wildlife utilization which is aimed at the best economic return, within the constraints of this document, will form the basis of the income generation for the Reserve.

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Zonation policy and operating guidelines

Policy


The SA Lombard Nature Reserve will be zoned to accommodate different activities and objectives. Initial zonation will be determined by the natural resource base, including geology, topography, soils, water, infrastructure and plants. These zones can then be further adapted to meet practical requirements of administration and physical constraints.

Operating guidelines

Broad zone categories. To view the zoning map click here and use your browser back button to return to this page.

Two broad types of zone are recognised:

Grazing areas.

Areas where the wildlife will graze these are further subdivided into two areas, namely:

· 'Undisturbed' - those areas that are considered to be in a natural state and have not been not ploughed or otherwise modified by intensive soil disturbance in recent time.

· 'Disturbed areas' - those areas which may have been disturbed in the recent past due to ploughing, mining or other activity.

In these areas management will be aimed at maximizing production for animals, within the parameters set out in this document

Other areas

Those areas, where there are existing infrastructure, such as houses or game handling facilities. These will be used to maximise income to the Board.

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Infrastructure policy and operating guidelines

Policy

The Warden will ensure that the conservation infrastructure is developed and maintained in the Reserve. Standards and quality will be set according to budgetary constraints and needs. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is required for all developments.

Operational and development guidelines

Gates

All gates will be under the control of the Warden and at least one gate will be available for the public to enter the SA Lombard Nature Reserve.

It is recognised that other gates may be allowed, but the party/ies benefiting from these must pay the full costs and they must be managed and maintained to SA Lombard Nature Reserve standards.

Roads

SA Lombard Nature Reserve is primarily for game production. The road network should be sufficient to allow for this and for Reserve management use.

Public Access

It is not envisaged that SA Lombard will be open to general visitors, except those staying in accommodation or using the facilities, for which agreements have been concluded.

Services

Services such as electricity, telephones and water should be located so as to minimise their environmental impact.

Radio communications and other communication equipment

The Warden may require a two-way radio system for efficient park management. All other radios must comply with licensing and other regulatory requirements. Any repeater stations or the like must comply with EIA conditions and formal agreements must be entered into with the NWP&TB.

Waste disposal

Waste must be sorted for recycling and recyclable waste must be removed from the Reserve. All other waste must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. Waste disposal must be closely monitored to prevent pollution and other adverse impacts, especially of the water resources. EIAs and EMPs for all developments will be required to look closely at waste processing and subsequent monitoring. The use of SMMEs to assist in this regard should be investigated.

A comprehensive waste management plan with procedures must be developed and implemented for the SA Lombard Nature Reserve.

Fencing

The SA Lombard Nature Reserve will be adequately fenced in the most cost effective manner to ensure that assets are protected and losses minimised, and that environmental damage is kept to a minimum.

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Private sector partnerships policy and operating guidelines

Policy

As a general principle the NWP&TB encourages strong, mutually beneficial partnerships with the private sector wherever such involvement can be handled cost-effectively and in a manner that meets with the NWP&TBs quality standards.

Operating guidelines

Any opportunities which are made available to outside parties should be done in the most appropriate manner and in line with the Board=s policies and procedures.

Any opportunities which may arise in the SA Lombard Nature Reserve in which outside parties can participate should be advertised as widely as possible to achieve the following ends:

· Economic benefaction including job creation. Preference will be given to those proposals which maximize employment.

· Maximisation of investment in infrastructure, staff development and other social benefits.

· Financial return to the SA Lombard Nature Reserve commensurate with.opportunity.

· Contribution to the overall objectives of the Reserve.

· All other things being equal, opportunities should be made available to local people.

· Ecologically sustainable development.

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Community and social policy and operating guidelines

Policy

SA Lombard Nature Reserve forms part of the local community and wherever possible, steps should be taken to integrate communities more fully into the Reserve.

Operating guidelines

Within the framework and objectives of the SA Lombard Nature Reserve the community should be accommodated through the following mechanisms:

Environmental education

This should be actively encouraged especially in the context of developing knowledge of the natural environment and the role of the Reserve in society. Where possible, partnerships should be established with role players and interested parties to ensure that this takes place.

Research

Research will be permitted only via formal agreements and projects will need to be registered. Investigation into the archaeological and cultural sites on the Reserve would be encouraged in order to develop a base line of information.

Other

Where appropriate the Reserve should interact with interested parties and organisations and establish forums in which the constructive use of the Reserve can be discussed. If necessary and appropriate, policies can be amended to accommodate such community involvement.

In this document the private sector refers to large, medium, small and individually owned business, including individuals or groups of individuals from the local communities who are interested in pursuing economic activities which are mutually beneficial (to the businesses and the park) within the park.

October 2001