cluster projects

  Spekboom Project and Other Celebrations!!

This project falls under the auspices of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve, in conjunction with other partners. Currently the Department of Agriculture (LandCare) funded the project “Restoring Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) in disturbed Spekboomveld near Calitzdorp.” Mr. Stefan Pieterse (Dept. Agriculture 044-2726077) is a suitable contact. The property lies immediately east of Calitzdorp The property is ideal for Spekboom restoration as large parts of it used to be Spekboomveld that was transformed through grazing. Due to a stock-theft problem the owner cannot use the property for grazing purposes, so the restored Spekboom will not be grazed. Approximately 5 ha has already been restored on the property, 4 ha through a previous LandCare project and 1 ha through a Table Mountain Fund project. An additional 3 ha will now be restored through a second LandCare project, but there is at least another 5 ha in the immediate vicinity that can be restored.  

A private contractor from Zoar, Mr. Stef Strydom, was used to do the restoration work. LandCare trained a team of 20 unemployed people from the Calitzdorp community to do the restoration work and they have been employed for a period of about 8 weeks to do the restoration work. The restoration work was done in November 2010 (first LandCare project) and was very successful, with approximately 70% of the cuttings established.

The sustainability of the project will contribute towards conservation in several ways. Restoring Spekboom will reduce water run-off and hence soil loss, and in addition, the restored Spekboom will capture CO2 and hence help to reduce atmospheric CO2. The restored veld will provide improved habitat for wildlife. Regarding socio-economic development, the planting team consists of 16 unemployed people from the Calitzdorp community. They have already been trained to do the work and informed about the aims of the project. Additional funding will enable them to continue to work and hence have an income for about another two weeks. These workers spend their entire income in the local town (Calitzdorp), which will thus support the local economy. 

Persons have already been trained and informed about the aims of the Spekboom restoration project. They thus understand the environmental benefits of doing such restoration work, apart from the obvious immediate benefit to themselves.  

The LandCare part of the project will take about four weeks and a further 5 ha of Spekboom is planned for planting using EPWP funding through Eden District Municipality. The soil varies a lot at the site and the time it takes to plant up a hectare depends on the local soils.

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