REstoration | Community

Jobs for Carbon

Jobs for Carbon logo


Vanwyksdorp, Calitzdorp



2014 – 2021


DOB Ecology, DEFF, WESSA, RRRG/Rhodes University (pilot phase)

Total number of spekboom plants planted

Total number of hectares planted with spekboom (active rehabilitation)

Total number of hectares committed to conservation (active + passive)

Total number of jobs created (current + historic)

Total number of person days worked

Project Objective

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

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.

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.

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 project continues to see impressive survival rates, despite the harsh arid conditions.

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. The Spekboom plants are sold both on large wholesale orders or in biodegradable pots (similar to peat pots) as gifting options. See the page on this spin-off enterprise

Activities and deliverables:

  • Scientific mapping of degraded Spekboom thicket areas
  • Carbon baseline assessments on all active restoration sites
  • Active restoration undertaken (areas replanted with Spekboom)
  • Areas are committed to passive restoration (areas are rested from grazing)
  • Skills development and employment of previously unemployed people
  • New restoration methodologies tested, to guide future restoration actions