Land Use

Land Use

Land Use


Land use, infrastructure and population are interlinked and critical factors that determine impacts on the environment. Land use change is the proximate cause of land cover change that generally results in loss of habitats. Land use change is shaped in part by infra structural development, particularly in relation to urban sprawl that is a low-density form of development that is particularly damaging to the environment.

Land use:

Land use is a record of the history of human impacts on the environment. "Many changes in vegetation -- collectively referred to as land cover change -- have resulted from, or been intensified by human activities". "...we must view nature as a dynamic system of which we are a part, recognizing that a variety of forces -- ranging from climatic change, to fire, to human land conversion -- are constantly interacting to determine the magnitude and direction of change. And we must accept responsibility for the fact that, in most places, our activities have become a dominant component of biological change". (LUHNA Concept Paper 2003)

This view has significant implications for the CWCBR. Managing natural areas and reserves to maintain a status quo condition is being replaced with management options that consider the background rates of change, or the natural range of variation, of ecological systems.

Land use in the Cape West Coast Biosphere Reserve:

Land use classification depends on the scale of analysis. The following broad land use classification has been adopted for strategic planning purposes:

Table: Broad land use classification:

1. Natural Natural vegetation, including old fallow lands and alien vegetation
2. Agricultural All agriculture including agro-industry
3. Urban Residential, education, commercial
4. Industrial Industrial areas
5. Special Utility, Waste treatment, Waste Disposal

Land Use


  • Natural Natural vegetation, including old fallow lands and alien vegetation
  • Agricultural All agriculture including agro-industry
  • Urban Residential, education, commercial
  • Industrial Industrial areas
  • Special Utility, Waste treatment, Waste Disposal This classification is based on use, and not ownership.

Land use data in the CWCBR has been undertaken utilising data obtained from the City of Cape Town and data used for the designation of the biosphere reserve. The latter is based on 1996 data, but this is still more up to date than the SA 1:10 000 ortho-photo series for the CWCBR. Areas devoted to the broad land use classes identified above were analysed. These are areas that include all roads and buildings and structures directly associated with the land use classes in which they fall.