REstoration | Community

Gouritz Ecological Corridors Project

Location

The current focus is on the enhancement of ecological functionality of the Langeberg Mountains and foothills, between the Weyers River in the west, Ruitersbos Nature Reserve in the East, and centered in the Herbertsdale area.

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Period

2019 – 2021

Partnership

DOB Ecology, Local farmers, CapeNature, Southern Cape Fire Protection Association, Agri Wes Kaap, Working for Wetlands, LandCare, and other stakeholders

Total number of participating Landowners

Total number of hectares for participating landowners

Project Objective

To establish and maintain ecological corridors in the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve, through landscape rehabilitation and promoting sustainable land-use practices by supporting farmers and landowners

This project aims to enhance landscape-scale ecological processes along mountain ranges and rivers associated with the Gouritz River. Corridors are landscape-level ecological connections that are critical for ecological processes and the long-term survival of wild animals and plants, especially in the context of climate change.
The project aims to establish landscape-level strategies for effective fire management, successful invasive alien plant control, and improved river and wetland health by means of growing collaboration between farmers and other landowners. By identifying and analysing environmental threats and opportunities with farmers and stakeholders, the project aims to assist with implementing practical and cooperative strategies to address threats and opportunities at a landscape scale.

Project Implementation

Much of our region, and country’s most ecologically sensitive areas fall on private land. Maintaining these areas, and implementing ecological restoration is therefore intrinsically linked to working with the landowners of these properties. Therefore, unlike many traditional ecological restoration projects, the ecological corridor project focuses more on building relationships with farmers and landowners and supporting them in their management of, and decision-making regarding their land.

Activities and deliverables:

Conduct an ecological baseline assessment of:

  • Mountain fynbos/ rangeland
  • Wetlands
  • Rivers

Identify the ideal conditions for ecological farm assets

Joint planning with farmers to develop practical actions to:

  • Maintain and improve ecological conditions,
  • Identify conservation farming techniques to improve and sustain farm enterprises

Support farmers managing their veld, rivers and wetlands through:

  • Providing technical support for effective fire, fynbos, wetland and river management
  • Supporting farmers to leverage support from government and other agencies

Support farmers to access conservation farming know-how for government and other agencies