The GCBR has a new project that stands a very good chance of receiving funding from the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), but we need your help to secure the funding. The project has been selected as a finalist along with five others, and the winner will be decided by a public vote. Please vote and spread the word to encourage others to vote as well. This project is a continuation of voluntary hikes undertaken in the past and you can get more information in our former blogs about the worth and excitement of them by reading these
Invasive alien plants must fall!
The Mountain Fynbos Restoration project as an Outdoor Sport in South Africa is located in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), one of the richest plant kingdoms in the world, supporting over 9,000 plant species, 70% of which are found nowhere else on earth. The shrub-like Fynbos is the emblematic plant community of the mountain component of the CFR.
This project will restore Mountain Fynbos by addressing the spread of invasive alien plants which suppress indigenous species, increase wildfire intensity and reduce water supply. It will get citizens actively involved in tackling this major problem, and shift controlling invasive alien plants from being a chore to an outdoor sport in itself!
Participating hikers will seek out the invasive alien trees in remote terrain, add upper body exercise to hiking and experience elation from crossing difficult topography. The project will build on existing initiatives and facilitate 18 clearing events and five biocontrol information events, involving between 250 and 300 volunteers over two years. Just think what we could achieve with more of these events! At least 30,000 invasive alien trees will be felled, clearing approximately 1,200 hectares of infested mountain fynbos, controlling a further 200 hectares using appropriate biocontrol agents in five remote areas.
Overall, the project seeks to shift the clearing of invasive alien plants from being seen as a chore to an outdoor sport/ leisure activity in its own right. Thus, it applies an innovative approach to the longstanding problem of controlling invasive alien plants. Help us build this fun and fulfilling GCBR movement.
The project aims to:
1. Contribute to restoring the mountain component of the globally important and threatened Cape Floral Kingdom – a global biodiversity hotspot in South Africa, characterised by shrub‑like plants known as fynbos – by addressing one of the greatest threats to mountain fynbos, namely the spread of invasive alien plants which suppress the indigenous species, increase wildfire intensity and reduce water supply.
2. Contribute significantly to controlling invasive alien plants by supporting hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts to become actively involved as volunteers in the hands-on clearing of invasive alien plants.
3. Enhance the participating hikers’ experience of mountain fynbos through:
(a) the challenge of seeking out the invasive alien trees in remote terrain,
(b) adding upper body exercise to the experience of hiking
(c) providing a sense of fulfilment and excitement in contributing to conservation with a clearly visible outcome;
(d) elation experienced from walking for several hours across difficult terrain to ultimately reach and cut down the invasive species (compares with the elation of conquering a mountain!); and (e) always promoting the safety of the participating volunteers.
About the EOCA
The EOCA is a group of businesses in the European outdoor industry who have come together to raise funds to put directly into conservation projects almost world-wide in order to give back to the great outdoors. In 14 years of existence, they have supported 140 projects to the tune of over €3.6 million.