Of sand and sun: plant tales from the dunes of the Eastern Cape

In the context of the Cape’s geological history, coastal dunes are some of the youngest landscapes, with shifting extents in response to sea-level changes and glacial-interglacial cycles — during glacial periods, the extent of coastal dunes would have been much larger on the flat Palaeo-Agulhas Plain than the present-day configuration that hugs the coastline. 

Speakers: Adriaan Grobler & Alastair Potts

Fynbos Restoration –showcasing what has been achieved on the lowlands of the South-Western Cape

Many of the Cape’s ecosystems and vegetation types are threatened with extinction due to a multitude of impacts. The biggest contributors are direct habitat loss, followed by invasive alien plants. Some vegetation types and the endemic plants they contain are critically endangered with remaining intact habitat far less than that required to achieve minimum conservation targets. Therefore, it is vital to restore populations of threatened species and habitat that can support them. Since many fynbos plant species are sensitive to micro-climatic conditions, it can be complicated to determine the correct niche in which to restore species, or to determine appropriate restoration goals in a given site. A flagship example is Erica verticillata, which was restored to three sites after being declared extinct in the wild for over 50 years. 

Speaker: Stuart Hall

Berg and Breede River Riparian Rehabilitation Programme

The Berg and Breede River Riparian Rehabilitation Programme is led by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning together with various stakeholders since 2013. The main project goal is namely: To contribute to improving the ecological infrastructure and functioning within the respective river systems, by establishing pockets of indigenous vegetation for improved natural succession in other cleared areas. Main outcomes of the Programme include: the development of an average of four new rehabilitation sites and propagation of 120 000 plants in a nursery per year. Sites are between 3500-5000m2 in area and are located within the Berg and Breede River Catchments. 

Speakers: Johann van Biljon & Phil Mc Lean; Intaba Environmental Services & DEADP

 

Sunbird stepping stones - a skip through Ingcungcu’s school gardens

Ingcungcu Sunbird Restoration aims to heal the relationship between plants and birds and people. Our vision is to link the Table Mountain National Park with the Boland Mountains via a series of indigenous pollinator gardens, restoring the migration routes of nectar-feeding birds across the densely urbanized Cape Flats in Cape Town. By planting indigenous gardens of carefully selected nectar-rich species at strategically located schools and community centres, these gardens are stepping stones in an ecological corridor which links the isolated patches of critically endangered lowland vegetation that remain on the Cape Flats, and reconnects them to the surrounding mountain ranges.

 

Organiser: Ingcungcu Sunbird Restoration Project (Ceinwen Smith)