Why does the land need to be regenerated?
The Eastern Cape landscape has suffered from extreme degradation due to intensive agriculture and grazing, as well as long periods of drought. This has greatly reduced the range of the native thicket ecosystem, where the spekboom is the dominant species. This thicket ecosystem originally covered over 900,000 hectares in southern Africa and has now shrunk to a fraction of that area.
The Eastern Cape has suffered significantly from prolonged drought from 2018 to 2021 combined with the effects of the Covid-19 economic downturn. These factors have resulted in large tracts of land currently lacking potential for the economic activities (grazing or commercial agriculture) that are prevalent in the region.
How does the renaturation work?
The proposed 1,456-acre project area includes approximately 1,200 acres of land suitable for planting and restoration of native Spekboom. This equates to 3 million trees that will be replanted as part of a two-year planting plan and then maintained for three years. At this point, the Spekboom plants will be well established, and in subsequent years the landscape will be transformed into a species-rich thicket ecosystem that will be permanently protected for conservation purposes. There will be continuous monitoring and reporting, as well as regular verification of greenhouse gas emissions removals.
The project is a collaborative project with significant scope for expansion, ultimately aiming to create multiple biodiversity and wildlife corridors to restore the original habitat and biodiversity in the area.