KZN greening gets a boost

2013-05-06 14:50
Environment. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Environment. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Greening in KwaZulu-Natal may get a boost through a government-sponsored programme to protect and rehabilitate the environment.

The department of environmental affairs has allocated R33m over a three year period to the Wildlands Conservation Trust's Natural Resource Management Land User Incentives Programme.

The programme seeks to restore 2 160ha of degraded land across five municipalities through planting 2.7 million indigenous trees.

The organisation also hopes to improve the management of the 50 000ha corridor separating the Royal Natal and Cathedral Peak Reserves. This should also assist communities with land interventions such as donga rehabilitation and improved grazing practices.

The Wildlands Conservation Trust claims that each hectare planted will result in a removal of three tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

Eco resources

"This Carbon [Carbon Credits] will be traded through the Trust’s existing Corporate network for a minimum of R100 per ton, allowing for annuity income to the communities of R300 per hectare," the organisation said.

Indigenous plants generally have the ability to make better use of eco resources, but the flora is often the victim of destruction through haphazard development or farming activities.

In the Western Cape, the impact on the unique fynbos has been devastating and efforts are underway to restore the environment.

"What we try and do is to incorporate this information about where the remaining biodiversity is into conservation planning so that when people are putting up new developments; plough new land, they do it in areas where it's not going to affect the continued survival of these species," CapeNature scientific manager Dr Andrew Turner recently told News24.

The global population has passed seven billion in 2012 and most experts agree that an increased urban population will put more stress on the environment.

Some estimate that there will be in excess of 10 billion on Earth by 2050, and the WWF argued that environment services were critical to ensuring human survival.

"The reality is that we're not disconnected from that [2050] date; it's not science fiction. And 10 billion people are going to need food, they're going to need water; they're going to need energy. Those three things put pressures on the planet's ability to sustain us," Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF) told News24.


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