REstoration | Community

Jobs for Carbon

Jobs for Carbon logo

Location

Vanwyksdorp, Calitzdorp

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Period

2014 – 2025

Partnership

DOB Ecology, DEFF, WESSA, RRRG/Rhodes University (pilot phase), European Union (initial phase: 2014-2016)

Total number of spekboom plants planted

Total number of hectares planted with spekboom

Total hectares of erosion control

Current number of jobs provided

Total number of persondays worked

Please note: These statistics are quoted from project inception to end of May 2024

Project Objective

To improve ecosystem health and resilience in the Little Karoo and restore severely degraded thicket by planting spekboom and mitigating and repairing soil erosion.

The Spekboom plant is an iconic plant species that used to dominate large parts of the GCBR region. Unfortunately, Spekboom thicket areas have been badly degraded through overgrazing and erosion, resulting in loss of veld productivity, loss of jobs, and destruction of valuable biodiversity.

Jobs for Carbon was established in 2014 in Vanwyksdorp and consistently continues its work to meet the project’s objective and to expand the area of land restoration. It rehabilitates degraded veld by planting spekboom back into the landscape where it used to occur naturally, and repairing areas affected by erosion.

The project stimulates veld improvement, environmental restoration, and rural employment – thus ecosystem health is boosted whilst simultaneously creating environmental restoration jobs.

Spekboom is also exceptionally good at capturing atmospheric carbon and storing it in the soil and is thus a great asset in the fight against climate change. Erosion repair and mitigation is one of the most effective tools in landscape restoration – the erosion work employed supports the veld in restoring itself, through channelling the natural flow of runoff to establish areas where the existing seedbanks can collect and re-establish.

The initial phase (2014-2016) of this programme was supported by the European Union.

Project Implementation

Degraded areas where Spekboom previously grew are identified through consultation with industry experts. The landowners are then approached to participate in the project. If the landowners agree and are willing to take part, the areas to be planted are set aside to be rested from grazing for a minimum of 10 years. 

Spekboom plants (for the active replanting in field) are acquired through two different methods: 

  • Spekboom cuttings (approx. 50cm) are sustainably harvested from the closest intact stand of spekboom veld or 
  • Smaller Spekboom cuttings are taken and propagated in the Spekboom nursery until they become rooted 

The large Spekboom cuttings or smaller rooted Spekboom plants are then planted in field (in the identified areas) spaced between one and two meters apart. Each Spekboom plant is then given one litre of water (when distance and logistics allow). And that completes the entire process! 

The erosion work employed involves different techniques taught by experts in the field, some of which include methods such as: 

  • Hollows/Pits: “erosion hollows/pits” is a cost effective method that involves the digging of shallow hollows in strategic areas in aridified soils. These hollows trap water from runoff/rain, and allow for infiltration into the subsoil. They also trap wind-blown plant litter, animal droppings and seeds, all of which create favourable conditions for plant germination and topsoil formation.  
  • Erosion control fences: “erosion fences” operate much in the same manner as the hollows, trapping seeds, organic debris, and silt along runoff channels. These areas can establish vegetated bands across degraded landscapes or assist in the stabilising of erosion gullies. 

See the free resource developed by Conservation Management Services in our resources section here).  

In addition to the field work, the project also seeks to create climate change awareness and enable climate change action through promoting the planting of Spekboom and selling Spekboom plants from the nursery (in Vanwyksdorp). The Spekboom plants can be purchased at the nursery in bulk or smaller orders.