Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager. Now Lesley has decided to ‘move along’ from Flower Valley – to focus her attention on the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI).

Lesley took over as Executive Director at Flower Valley in September 2003. At the time, she joined the Trust following an eight-year stint at WWF South Africa, including as Director of Communications and Marketing.

By 2003, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had focused its work on Flower Valley Farm, the home of the Trust.

But an opportunity early during Les’s career at Flower Valley put the Trust on a different trajectory – connecting with some of the biggest conservation players in the Overberg and beyond.

At the time, the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility provided resources for conservation in the Agulhas Plain. Flower Valley was tasked with developing one of the four outputs of the region-wide project: Ecologically, socially and economically sustainable harvesting of wild fynbos is demonstrated as a viable land-use on the Agulhas Plain.

This served as the basis of the Sustainable Harvesting Programme – which became the Trust’s flagship programme in subsequent years.

From the outset, Flower Valley also focused on Early Childhood Development. And Lesley’s support to this programme culminated in the Overstrand Mayor’s Award for Excellence in 2014. According to Overstrand Municipality Area Manager Kat Myburgh and Gabrielle Jonker, who nominated Lesley for the award, “Lesley is a hands-on, tender, kind, honest and respectful person. Her professionalism is an example to all who work with her. She is a mentor and inspiration to many, both young and old.”

In 2010, when the first phase of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative concluded, Flower Valley, led by Lesley, ensured this landscape initiative could continue. Between 2003 and 2010, relationships of trust and cooperation had built up between ABI’s partners, which supported conservation efforts in the Agulhas Plain.

At the launch meeting for phase 2 of ABI in 2010, partners agreed that Flower Valley serve as the ABI Coordination Unit and the Secretariat, and that ABI would now operate across the Overberg. Through Lesley’s drive, many of these relationships have been maintained over the following decade, and new relationships have also formed under the ABI banner.

Lesley and the ABI partners are now driving the process to re-vision ABI – to further consolidate the ABI partnership through a new round of shared thinking, clarifying goals and practical plans (in a project funded by the WWF Nedbank Green Trust).

In 2012, Flower Valley launched a landscape alien clearing project (also under the ABI banner). The Trust worked with around 250 beneficiaries, and 100 landowners in the Agulhas Plain, through funding secured via the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. Around 30,000 hectares were cleared per year through the project, which continues today. This programme address the threats which were identified by the ABI partnership.  

Also under Les’s direction, the Trust revamped the Sustainable Harvesting Programme from 2014, with funding support from the European Union and WWF Nedbank Green Trust. This saw the SHP entrenched in the Agulhas Plain, and rolled out to new harvesting areas – supporting pickers to harvest fynbos according to environmental principles, and to meet social and labour compliance in harvesting teams. The SHP is the only programme of its kind in the fynbos industry.

Throughout her Flower Valley career, Lesley has served on numerous boards, including as Vice-Chair of the Cape Action for People and the Environment (CAPE) Implementation Committee and as Trustee and Chair of the Southern African Wildlife College Trust. She has also served on the board of Cape Flora SA (the fynbos industry body) and serves on the board of the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust

According to Flower Valley’s Executive Director, Roger Bailey, Lesley has played a transformational role in the Agulhas Plain – particularly in the fynbos sector and the ECD environment. “I’m not sure how one summarises 17 years of hard work and dedication in a few short sentences. Lesley has not only been at the forefront of conservation in the Agulhas Plain and the broader Overberg – showing courage in implementing programmes and ideas well ahead of their time. But she has also played a key role in my own career. She has provided guidance and support throughout, and took on her role as Executive Director by adopting a consultative and facilitative approach.”

“She will be sorely missed at Flower Valley Conservation Trust. Best wishes to you, Les, on your next chapter and may this be filled with plenty of interesting and thought-provoking fynbos aspects.”

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Flower Valley Farm

Flower Valley Farm is a showcase of pristine fynbos and indigenous forests covering our mountains and valleys, and a demonstration of how to manage these landscapes well.

Search

Popular Posts

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.

Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Over the past two years, 138 fynbos harvesters received training in how to harvest fynbos sustainably. They were trained in their own home language (Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English).

Spicy or sweet; honey or herb: The fragrances of Flower Valley’s fynbos

From honey scents, to slightly smelly shoes, spring has created an avalanche of aromas in our fynbos on Flower Valley Farm.  

Most of these wonderful aromas can be experienced on a hike through our fynbos. So if you head to Flower Valley Farm now, here’s what’s likely to light up your sense of smell.

Protea scabra

Near Threatened

This ground Protea is flowering now on Flower Valley Farm. You’ll find it along the Wonky Hill Trail. The protea gives off a musky scent which does a good job of attracting mice which pollinate it.

Leucadendron tinctum

Near Threatened

This member of the Proteaceae family is also known as the spicy conebush. The flowers of the female cones have a distinct spicy scent. But according to botanist, Sean Privett, these flowers are encircled by oil bracts that are likely to taste horrible to protect the flowers from insects.

Leucospermum prostratum 

Vulnerable

Flower Valley Farm is home to this Yellow Trailing Pincushion, which is flowering at the moment. The flower releases a yeasty scent, which resembles slightly smelly shoes. And this attracts the rodents which pollinate it.

Struthiola striata  

Least Concern

These flowers really ‘come alive’ at night, giving off their honey scents only in the evening in order to attract their pollinators, usually moths. These plants grow quickly, and like many fynbos species, they’re water-wise.

Agathosma cerefolium  

Least Concern

The Beach buchu is often used in cosmetics, soaps and perfumes. It’s also a lovely addition to potpourris, says botanist (and Flower Valley Trustee), Sean Privett, in the ‘Field Guide to the Flora of the Grootbos Nature Reserve and the Walker Bay region’. In their natural environment along the Stinkhoutsbos Trail on Flower Valley Farm, they provide an enticing, wonderful aroma on a cool spring day.

Agathosma imbricata

Least Concern

Hikers will enjoy the wonderful sweet or herb fragrances given off by these Wild buchu leaves. Here’s a tip: During a walk, pick some of their leaves and crush them between your fingers. This provides a wonderful fragrance.

Agathosma ciliaris 

Least Concern

The Agathosma was used by Khoi people in the past, powdered and added to sheep’s fat to be applied as a scented body lotion, according to the ‘Field Guide to Renosterveld of the Overberg’. The ciliaris in particular has a strong aniseed smell. 

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Flower Valley Farm

Flower Valley Farm is a showcase of pristine fynbos and indigenous forests covering our mountains and valleys, and a demonstration of how to manage these landscapes well.

Search

Popular Posts

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.

Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Over the past two years, 138 fynbos harvesters received training in how to harvest fynbos sustainably. They were trained in their own home language (Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English).

Our Network

Connect on Social Media

THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS

           

  

           

Flower Valley’s latest news

When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust. 

When we realised that irresponsible and unsustainable harvesting was not being monitored, and threatened the Cape Floristic Region, you – our donor – became involved.

When we realised the need to help provide good quality and access to Early Childhood Development services for children in the Overstrand, you – our donor – didn’t hesitate to support.

When we realised that the threat of invasive alien plants in the Overberg continued to grow, and we offered our assistance to our region’s land users, you – our donor – chose to help.

For every need identified in and among our Fynbos communities (like our Feed a Child campaign) – you’ve joined hands with us to make things better. 

And in the future, as we work to ensure a Fynbos-Filled Future for Life and Livelihoods, we know you’ll be there. With great admiration for your support, I thank you for these past 21 years.

Kind regards,

Roger Bailey
Executive Director (Acting): Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

The Trust

For the Trust, it has been 21 years of growth, progress and learning.

Search

Popular Posts

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.

Our Network

Connect on Social Media

THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS

           

  

           

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).

Many communities we work with – in both our Natural Resource Management and our Early Childhood Development programmes – had little or no income; and therefore no opportunity to buy food for themselves and their families.

So we had to act, by taking on new projects to support these communities during these crisis times. Our relief efforts revolved around food parcels for those most in need. We turned to YOU for help. And we were overwhelmed by your response.

 

The result? While many South Africans remained at home, our Flower Valley team could obtain essential work permits to:

 

  • Deliver 682 food parcels in Eluxolweni and Baardskeerdersbos (by end July), to 97 families who participate in our Early Childhood Development Programme;
  • And deliver additional food parcels to families involved in our Natural Resource Management Programme across the Overberg (as supported by the Lunchbox Fund).

(During the forced lockdown period we facilitated payments to alien clearing teams in our Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) Alien Clearing Project – facilitated by Flower Valley – on the authority of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.) 

It was our privilege to be part of facilitating this relief and we are honoured to convey the gratitude from the recipients, thanking YOU for your generosity.

For example, a contractor who has his own harvesting team had this to say: 

“Ek sê vir u baie baie dankie vir die kos pakkies. Ons waardeer dit baie. Die Here seen u.”

(I thank you very much for the food parcels. We appreciate it very much. May the Lord bless you.)

Another harvester said:

“Ons wil graag dankie sê vir die pakkies wat ons ontvang het.”

(We would just like to thank you for the food parcels we received.)

We couldn’t have asked for a better 21-year birthday present: Your support to help us help those we work with. Thank you!

Right now, we are adapting to this new normal. While the immediate future remains uncertain, as Flower Valley Conservation Trust, we MUST continue to respond with even more vigour to challenges in pursuit of our vision: “A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods.”

Even before the Coronavirus pandemic, many of our communities working in the Natural Resource Management and those participating in our Early Childhood Development programmes had to endure their own struggles in everyday life. The fynbos industry has seen little growth for wild harvesters. Communities had already experienced the threat of rising unemployment. And things have certainly deteriorated as a result of the pandemic. This highlights that more needs to be done to support sustainable green economies that ensure social, environmental and economic benefits to communities.

That’s why our core focus in a COVID-19 world is to add value and strengthen credible green industries and provide support for our communities in early childhood development.

Thank you for standing with us during this time. We look forward to continuing to work with you, as we move forward in this role.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

The Trust

For the Trust, it has been 21 years of growth, progress and learning.

Search

Popular Posts

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.

Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Over the past two years, 138 fynbos harvesters received training in how to harvest fynbos sustainably. They were trained in their own home language (Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English).

Our Network

Connect on Social Media

THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS

           

  

           

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Over the past two years, 138 fynbos harvesters received training in how to harvest fynbos sustainably. 

They were trained in their own home language (Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English). And they received the training in harvesting sustainably, as per the Flower Valley Code of Practice, and in threats to fynbos. 

But does training really make a difference and help fynbos harvesters pick more responsibly?

To answer this question, the University of Durham, Newcastle University (both in the United Kingdom) and the University of Cape Town undertook a training evaluation, to assess the impacts of the Flower Valley training. The evaluation was undertaken shortly before lockdown commenced in South Africa.

The evaluators asked three questions:

  • How important is it to have the training – including the field guide and training film material – in your own language?
  • How has the training supported your knowledge and application of the Sustainable Harvesting Code of Practice?
  • Since the training, how comfortable are you with understanding the threats to fynbos?

They then worked with a sample of 31 of the harvesters who went through the training.

Here’s what they found:

Home language was actively emphasised as important.

It led to a deeper understanding of the content. Following the home-language training, pickers are now more confident and comfortable with good harvesting practices. It even led to a new-found interest in fynbos. The home language training and the book-form training material also seemed to provide a greater sense of ownership in the process for harvesters, many whose families have been involved in the industry for generations.

Harvesters wanted to have even more information. 

While many of the harvesters are comfortable with their understanding of the sustainable harvesting principles, many felt that they now wanted to know more. Multi-generational harvester’s seemed to have a sense of identity with flower picking, and many expressed their passion for fynbos and the work that they do. They see the Code of Practice as a good thing and there is an understanding of the need to apply good practice. 

Harvesters now understand the threats to fynbos. 

All 31 harvesters also understood the threats to fynbos – even though many hadn’t known of these threats before the training. The threats include: leaving waste in the veld, poor picking practices, fire, and string (baling twine) used to make flower bundles.

The researchers also suggested expanding the role of the team leaders. Well-engaged team leaders are able to maintain good sustainable harvesting levels among their team members, to help protect fynbos landscapes.

A note of thanks

Thank you to the University of Durham, Newcastle University and the University of Cape Town for their support with this evaluation. A special thanks to Cheryl McEwan and Alex Hughes for their wonderful support to Flower Valley over the past decade, and Molly Anderson for contributions to the report.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Natural Resource Management: Sustainable Harvesting Programme

When fynbos is picked sustainably, you not only protect the fynbos kingdom for future generations, you also protect the livelihoods of those who harvest it. 

Search

Popular Posts

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.

Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).

Our Network

Connect on Social Media

THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS

           

  

           

Nurturing children during the extended lockdown period

When the national lockdown was first announced in March 2020, few could have foreseen the huge impact it would have on families and the development of young children.

The Flower Valley Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme team has provided ongoing support since 2012 in the form of a home-based child stimulation, parent support and a referral programme to families with pregnant mothers and children 0 – 4 years of age. This take place in Eluxolweni, a small Pearly Beach neighbourhood and Baardskeerdersbos, a farming community.

When ECD centres closed their doors as a result of lockdown, our ECD Programme’s regular home-based visits came to a standstill. At the same time, many parents experienced a loss of income, which resulted in the nutritional needs of children being severely compromised.

It became clear that the needs on the ground and our ability to meet them had shifted at this time, and so the Feed a Child Project was launched. Here we aimed to contribute to feeding 87 children and their families, and supporting play through stimulation packs.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”  – Albert Einstein. 

According to Kieran Whitley, who coordinated our Feed a Child relief efforts: “The response we received to our call for donations, was heartwarming and enabled us to meet the overwhelming need in these communities.” Organisations, companies and individuals – both local and from abroad – supported on-going balanced nutrition and play-based stimulation during the months of April, May, June and July. 

Through their help, the Flower Valley ECD team could:

  • Support 97 families in Eluxolweni and Baardskeerdersbos
  • Provide 508 food parcels (this will come to 682 by end July)
  • Provide 444 play packs (by end of July this will come to 618)
  • Buy 157 units of baby formula for babies under 6 months
  • Supply Bumbles Baby Food for babies over 6 months
  • And supply baby clothes to infants.

We are thankful to everyone who answered the call to help us support balanced nutrition and play – two essential developmental needs of young children.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes to:

  • Doug Reid
  • OK Foods Gansbaai
  • Marian Oliver
  • Kleinparadijs
  • Charne Nel
  • Megan and Gina Ellish
  • Gabbi Jonker
  • Professor John Parker
  • L du Toit
  • Lisa Fisher
  • Naomi Potgieter
  • M Rhodes
  • D Nwayo
  • Ingrid Hemisi
  • Colleen & Jeremy Chennels
  • Rudolf Schutte
  • Skyview Distribution
  • Louise Corbet
  • GAJ Williams
  • Cecile Antonie
  • Steve Trimby
  • Olivia Grainger

What we’ve learnt over these past months:

Many have experienced great loss since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And to these people, we offer our condolences. Our challenges aren’t over yet. But we draw strength in knowing that this time has given us an opportunity to grow and stand together and support one another.

Kieran says, “In delivering this service, we have developed deeper insights into the individuals and families we work with, built new relationships and strengthened old ones. We are deeply grateful for all the help we received. And we know that this time has further equipped us to be of service to the young children and families of the Overstrand.”

 

(Our thanks also to our ECD team, in particular to Kieran Whitley for driving this Feed a Child Project.)

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Early Childhood Development

Good quality early childhood development is vital for the social and intellectual wellbeing of our children, allowing them to create a better future for themselves.

Search

Popular Posts

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.

Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Over the past two years, 138 fynbos harvesters received training in how to harvest fynbos sustainably. They were trained in their own home language (Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English).

Our Network

Connect on Social Media

THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS

           

  

           

Collaboration with Australia: Amplifying the Alien Clearing Programme

Australia and South Africa have teamed up to add new functionality to the Flower Valley Alien Clearing Programme. 

While invasive alien clearing work has continued across the landscape over the past seven years, as part of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative Alien Clearing Project (coordinated by Flower Valley Conservation Trust), it’s not been possible to date to easily extract specific or combined data around the impact of the programme.

Enter Australian, Rod Moss.

Rod had worked with Flower Valley’s Esna Swart in previous years. He became aware of the Alien Clearing Programme and the specifics thereof through Esna, and saw this as an opportunity to learn something new, while helping the Trust.

With Rod’s help, Flower Valley now has a digital tracking and monitoring system – making it easy to measure the impact over time.

Here’s Rod’s letter on how this came about…

“I had been interested in Esna Swart’s work with Flower Valley for quite a while as working with drones, GIS and general mapping was something I had a pretty good understanding of. So, after my retirement in October 2019, during one of our discussions, the topic of Excel came up. Since I was interested in teaching myself VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) for Excel, I asked if there was any way I could help. I wanted to develop my skills and the Flower Valley project seemed like a great way to do that – especially with all this free time during lockdown.

“After a few productive Zoom/WhatsApp discussions, we identified what we needed to do and created a plan to achieve our goals. Since our initial discussion, the project has grown and taken on an interesting life of its own.

“Today, with the click of a button, we can see where the aliens are located, what the species and densities were, how many person days were allocated, what investments were made, cost analysis and much more.

 

Even though the data had been available in the past, the platform to extract and run quick analysis has not existed until now. We are currently working on the next stage of the project, which includes the creation of a dashboard where near real-time data will be made available.

“We still have a long way to go, but so far we have developed a working product that adds value to alien clearing and conservation efforts. I have thoroughly enjoyed the development and am looking forward to assisting with future projects.”

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Natural Resource Management: Alien Clearing Programme

When fynbos is picked sustainably, you not only protect the fynbos kingdom for future generations, you also protect the livelihoods of those who harvest it. 

Search

Popular Posts

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.

Our Network

Connect on Social Media

THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS

           

  

           

Two new alien plant species found along Klipdrift River

The Flower Valley team has found two new alien plant species to the Overberg, while working along the banks of the Klipdrift River in Napier.

And one species in particular is causing concern for conservationists here, due to its ability to invade fynbos and forests.

The Flower Valley Natural Resource Management team is currently assessing and mapping the extent of invasive alien plants along the banks of the Klipdrift River in Napier. The Trust was tasked to undertake the assessment and mapping by the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency, lead agent for water management in the Overberg.

The plan is to ultimately compile a strategy to clear the invasive alien plants from the Klipdrift riparian zone, once the extent and costs are understood.

To date, our Alien Clearing Project Manager, Stanley Engel, and Extension Officer, Mitch Afrika have worked with wonderful Napier landowners to gather the information.

But it was during this process that Stanley and Mitch came across two NEW alien plants.

1. Acacia elata (Pepper tree wattle), is native to Australia and grows to 12 – 18m tall. It occurs in South Africa, but we don’t know of other records of it as an invasive in the Overberg as yet.

It’s a concern because it’s a fast-growing, long-lived species known to invade fynbos and forest clearings. It’s spread by ants, birds, wind and water, and can also travel in garden waste and contaminated soil transportation.  

It’s a NEMBA Category 1b invader.

2. Angophora species (we believe it’s Angophora costata, also known as Sydney red gum, as identified by our friends at the South African National Biodiversity Institute).

 

This is also an Australian native medium-sized tree which grows to about 30m tall. This species is not naturalised in South Africa (and is not yet listed under NEMBA as an invasive species), but is part of the Myrtle family.

 

The Klipdrift River feeds into the Kars River, which ultimately feeds the Heuningnes River. This leads to the Heuningnes estuary on the De Mond Nature Reserve, which is a Ramsar wetland site (signifying wetlands of international importance). The river is also the source of Napier’s leiwater.

But the Klipdrift River is heavily infested by invasive plants. It’s hoped this process will help raise awareness around the importance of this river.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Natural Resource Management: Alien Clearing Programme

When fynbos is picked sustainably, you not only protect the fynbos kingdom for future generations, you also protect the livelihoods of those who harvest it. 

Search

Popular Posts

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

Thank you, and goodbye, Lesley Richardson

For 17 years, Lesley Richardson has guided and led Flower Valley Conservation Trust as the Trust’s Executive Director, and in the past two years, as Fundraising and Partnership Development Manager.

Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

When we saw that an intact pristine fynbos farm was threatened by potential agricultural expansion 21 years ago – you, our donors, stepped in to help. This purchase with the help of Fauna and Flora International, saw the birth of Flower Valley Conservation Trust.

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

A Coronavirus update: A swift response to a crisis

At the height of the lockdown during the past four months, Flower Valley Conservation Trust had to react swiftly. At the time, the spotlight fell almost exclusively on the latter half of our vision: for life and livelihoods (our vision is: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods).

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Does fynbos training really make a difference?

Over the past two years, 138 fynbos harvesters received training in how to harvest fynbos sustainably. They were trained in their own home language (Afrikaans, isiXhosa and English).

Our Network

Connect on Social Media

THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS