Eastern Cape, South Africa
The forests of the Amatole region in the Eastern Cape are an essential element of the ecology of the area. They provide habitats for animals, stability for soils, and support the vital watersheds that provide lifeblood to the grasslands below.
The Amatole forests served as an important supply of wood for early European settlers who used the majestic Yellowoods, Stinkwoods and more for building materials. The forests have also been a vital supply of food, medicines and building materials for the indigenous communities in the area for millennia, and people still rely heavily on the forests for their supply of resources. Despite being officially protected for many years, the forests are still under threat, largely as a result of land mismanagement, fire regimes and invasive vegetation. This has direct implications for not only the plants and animals that rely on the forests, but the people in the region too.
Since 2014, Greenpop has been collaborating with the Terra Khaya lodge and other local conservation organisations to restore a large swathe of indigenous forest. Our work in this area follows an alternative approach to alien vegetation management and land restoration which calls for a ‘thinning’ of alien trees followed by a dense tree planting. This method allows us to reestablish vital waterways as well as appropriate conditions for natural vegetation to regenerate. The trees which we have planted in this area are doing exceptionally well with an average survival rate of around 95% and significant growth visible in many of the saplings.