Promoting healthy ecosystems to build resilience to climate change


CAP publishes: 'Investing in sustainability: Restoring degraded thicket, creating jobs, capturing carbon and earning green credit'

CAP is proud to publish an important document for government, given that restoration is aligned with government’s strategies, and corporate seeking green credit. This document presents the case for restoration of degraded thicket as a means to revive the rural economy in the Eastern Cape. Its purpose is to stimulate investment in the large-sale restoration of degraded thicket, basing its case on sound practical and scientific evidence and economic models built on existing working programs.

The large-scale restoration of tens of thousands of hectares of spekboom-rick thicket in the Eastern Cape, which is degraded mainly due to overgrazing of angora goats, will create major benefits for South Africa, all of which contribute to the three pillars of sustainability: environment, society and economy.

Environmental benefits include improved carrying capacity of the landscape for judiciously managed livestock and wildlife; conserved topsoils and consequently less silt deposition in rivers and dams; greater water infiltration into soils and aquifers, thereby replenishing ground water; capture of carbon from the atmosphere; and the return of the thicket’s biodiversity.

Socio-economic benefits include the creation of thousands of jobs in the restoration industry, improved ecotourism opportunities; improved livelihoods through the generation of income streams from carbon sequestration; training of the rural poor in both business skills and restoration; and financial returns by reviving natural capital and ecosystem services. This project will in turn play a role in enabling local communities to adapt to climate change impacts.

These benefits place the restoration of degraded thicket in complete alignment with the government’s strategies for the Second Economy. The annual AsgiSA (Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa) of March 2009 includes the significant expansion of public employment to the most marginalized, and recognizes potentially significant new opportunities for rural employment, and the potential for earning carbon credits. Thus, in terms of meeting government objectives, the twinning of environmental and economic development within a single programme offers a great advantage.

One vision of the Working for Woodlands Programme is to create a new rural economy in the Eastern Cape, based on the restoration of South Africa’s degraded thicket. The realization of this vision will require from government and corporate sectors, initial investments which will generate considerable green acclaim and social benefits, as well as financial returns. Carbon credits generated could be used for offsetting government and corporate carbon footprints, or for trading on international markets.
Importantly, sustainable livelihoods will underpin the new rural economy. The sheer magnitude of large-scale thicket restoration means that it would create thousands of jobs for previously disadvantaged individuals and greatly assist the government’s 2004 AsgiSA target of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014.

To read more and download the booklet click here

Click the image to enlarge: Spekboom thicket
Spekboom thicket
Click the image to enlarge: Supporting the livlihoods
Supporting the livlihoods
Click the image to enlarge: Spekboom thicket in flower
Spekboom thicket in flower
Click the image to enlarge: 1.2 million ha of degraded spekboom-rick thicket which is potentially restorable
1.2 million ha of degraded spekboom-rick thicket which is potentially restorable
Posted: 4/22/2010 (11:07:16 AM)

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