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. 

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#EnvironmentDay quiz: Do you know your fynbos?

#EnvironmentDay quiz: Do you know your fynbos?

How well do you know your fynbos? This Environment Day (Friday 5 June), the world takes Time for Nature (2020’s theme). So take a moment to test your fynbos knowledge (there are just 10 super quick questions). Do it simply #ForNature.

Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

2020 is a really a big year for us (and April a big month): It’s when Flower Valley Conservation Trust turns 21 years old! 

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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 month:

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.

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In the Bailey household, we take Valentine’s Day pretty seriously. At the very least, my wife ‘expects’ (although I try to surprise her) a beautiful bouquet of flowers – preferably fynbos.

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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. 

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Blooming beautiful Proteas on Flower Valley Farm

Blooming beautiful Proteas on Flower Valley Farm

It’s blooming beautiful on Flower Valley Farm right now. The Proteas are flowering – and that makes it quite simply one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit the farm for a hike.

#EnvironmentDay quiz: Do you know your fynbos?

#EnvironmentDay quiz: Do you know your fynbos?

How well do you know your fynbos? This Environment Day (Friday 5 June), the world takes Time for Nature (2020’s theme). So take a moment to test your fynbos knowledge (there are just 10 super quick questions). Do it simply #ForNature.

Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

2020 is a really a big year for us (and April a big month): It’s when Flower Valley Conservation Trust turns 21 years old! 

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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 theSouth 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 Heuninges 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. 

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Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

In the Bailey household, we take Valentine’s Day pretty seriously. At the very least, my wife ‘expects’ (although I try to surprise her) a beautiful bouquet of flowers – preferably fynbos.

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Blooming beautiful Proteas on Flower Valley Farm

It’s blooming beautiful on Flower Valley Farm right now.

The Proteas are flowering – and that makes it quite simply one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit the farm for a hike.

(Remember: Flower Valley Farm is now open for hiking and mountain biking. However, in order to adhere to COVID-19 regulations, we ask that groups stick to a maximum of 4 people, and that you wear your mask when in any of our buildings and offices, and maintain social distancing when you’re outside).

A little background check on Proteas:

To find out more about the history of Proteas, we checked in with Flower Valley friend, Zoë Poulsen from Notes from a Cape Town Botanist.

According to Zoë, the genus was named in 1735 by Carl Linnaeus after the Greek God, Proteus. Proteus had the ability to take on different forms – and it’s believed Linnaeus was inspired by the many different forms of Protea flowers.

But Proteas have a much longer history than that. Fossil pollen shows that the Proteaceae family’s origins were on the supercontinent Gondwana, some 140 million years ago. What’s more, according to Zoë, they even once occurred in Antarctica – before the continent was covered in ice.

Proteas today on Flower Valley Farm

There are 112 species of Proteas – and most you’ll only find in the Fynbos Biome. Flower Valley Farm is home to 11 of these species. And if you choose to enjoy the farm’s tranquil hiking routes right now, here’s what you could see:

Protea compacta (Near Threatened)

Protea repens (Least Concern)

Protea cynaroides (Least concern)

Protea longifolia (Vulnerable)

Protea speciosa (Least Concern)

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.

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Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

In the Bailey household, we take Valentine’s Day pretty seriously. At the very least, my wife ‘expects’ (although I try to surprise her) a beautiful bouquet of flowers – preferably fynbos.

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THANK YOU TO OUR DONORS

           

  

           

Tips on making your nature photos come to life (Nature Photography Day)

The difference between an average photograph and an eye-catching one doesn’t necessarily require you to buy a new camera. 

Sometimes you only need to make a few small changes to completely light up a photo – such as adjusting your angle, or changing the composition.

Local Overberg photographer, Jocelyn de Kock, has visited Flower Valley Conservation Trust numerous times over the years, to capture our projects on camera.

And on Nature Photography Day (Monday 15 June), she chats to Flower Valley – sharing her tips on how to turn average nature photos into those that tell the story best.

In this 13-minute chat, she uses examples of her own work (including photos taken on Flower Valley Farm), to showcase:

  • The importance of composition, and the use of thirds;
  • Tips on how to get the lighting just right, to avoid heavy shadows;
  • How to change the angle of a photo for maximum impact;
  • And ideas on making your focal point (such as a flower) stand out, especially when it’s surrounded by lots of noise (leaves, twigs etc.).

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. 

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Two new alien plant species found along Klipdrift River

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

Blooming beautiful Proteas on Flower Valley Farm

Blooming beautiful Proteas on Flower Valley Farm

It’s blooming beautiful on Flower Valley Farm right now. The Proteas are flowering – and that makes it quite simply one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit the farm for a hike.

#EnvironmentDay quiz: Do you know your fynbos?

How well do you know your fynbos?

 This Environment Day (Friday 5 June), the world takes Time for Nature (2020’s theme). So take a moment to test your fynbos knowledge (there are just 10 super quick questions). Do it simply #ForNature.

0%

What percentage of South Africa does fynbos cover?

Correct! Wrong!

Fynbos covers just 6.7% of South Africa (around 85,000km square). Despite this, it has the highest number of plant species in comparison to other biomes in South Africa (and compared to most biomes globally).

What’s South Africa’s national flower?

www.buzzsouthafrica.com
Correct! Wrong!

Protea cynaroides, better known as the King Protea.

Fynbos is threatened on a daily basis by:

Correct! Wrong!

There are MANY threats to fynbos. These include climate change, invasive aliens and over-harvesting.

Which bird can only survive in fynbos – and will die out without it?

Correct! Wrong!

The Sugarbird is dependent on fynbos and feeds mainly off Proteas.

What fynbos species is only found on Flower Valley Farm and surrounds, and nowhere else in the world?

Correct! Wrong!

The critically endangered Erica irregularis is a special species to us, growing only on our farm and surrounds.

What flower is in Flower Valley’s logo?

Correct! Wrong!

We have a Pincushion in our logo

How many species grow in the Cape Floral Kingdom?

Correct! Wrong!

Our Kingdom has around 9600 different species - making it the most diverse kingdom in the world, isn’t that great?

What fynbos family has more than 6000 species, and includes plants like the irregularis and plukenetti?

Correct! Wrong!

The Erica family has more than 6000 species.

Fynbos loves fire – true or false?

Correct! Wrong!

Fynbos and fire work hand in hand and must happen in a controlled manner every 12 years or so to achieve the best results of fynbos regrowth.

The World Environment Day theme is:

Correct! Wrong!

Given unprecedented health considerations around the world as a result of COVID-19, it’s become clear that to care for ourselves, we MUST care for nature. So this World Environment Day, the theme is: It’s Time #ForNature.

How much do you love – and know – fynbos?

Thanks for trying our fynbos quiz. Looks like there may be some opportunities to improve your fynbos knowledge. Here’s an idea: Follow the advice this World Environment Day, and take Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, make sure you’re getting fynbos info delivered straight to you – by signing up to our newsletter.

1. Mmmm, looks like there is room for improvement on your fynbos knowledge. Here’s an idea: Follow the advice this World Environment Day, and take Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).

Thanks for trying our fynbos quiz. There may be some opportunities for you to do even better in future. Here’s an idea: Follow the advice this World Environment Day, and take Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).

Not too bad, but you could do even better! Here’s an idea: Follow the advice this World Environment Day, and take Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).

You’re halfway there, congrats! Here’s an idea: Follow the advice this World Environment Day, and take Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).

Looking good! So don’t stop here. Follow the advice this World Environment Day, and take Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).
6

Well done, your score is impressive! You clearly know your fynbos. Here’s an idea: Follow the advice this World Environment Day, and take Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).
7

Impressive, you’ve done well! It’s clear that you know your fynbos. Now take it a step further, and follow the advice this World Environment Day, by taking Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).
8

Impressive, you nearly got 100%! It’s clear that you know your fynbos. Now take it a step further, and follow the advice this World Environment Day, by taking Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).
9

Impressive, you nearly got 100%! It’s clear that you know your fynbos. Now take it a step further, and follow the advice this World Environment Day, by taking Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).
10

Congrats, you are a fynbos expert! This means that you really do know and love fynbos. Now take it a step further, and follow the advice this World Environment Day, by taking Time for Nature. If you can’t get into nature yourself, then adopt your own fynbos patch – and enjoy your hectare on Flower Valley Farm virtually (we send you regular fynbos updates, so you can spend time in nature without leaving your home).

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. 

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Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

In the Bailey household, we take Valentine’s Day pretty seriously. At the very least, my wife ‘expects’ (although I try to surprise her) a beautiful bouquet of flowers – preferably fynbos.

Flower Valley’s latest news

2020 is a really a big year for us (and April a big month): It’s when Flower Valley Conservation Trust turns 21 years old! 

I’ve been with the Trust for 18 of those 21 years. And I believe our reach is bigger than ever because of one thing: our ability to remain relevant, even as situations change. Here’s what I’ve seen over these 18 years: I’ve seen climate change emerge as a major theme; I’ve seen invasive species multiply and threaten our fynbos ecosystems; and I’ve experienced the desire and commitment to search for and apply green economic solutions to benefit our community and our environment.

Flower Valley works at the core of these themes – thanks to the support of wonderful donors. As a new need emerges, we must adapt. 21 years later, we’re still doing that. 

Right now, we’re facing a new challenge – and so we’re adapting once again, this time in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flower Valley’s role has always been to protect our natural world THROUGH people. Everything we do to achieve our vision: A fynbos-filled future for life and livelihoods, takes place by working with people.

Right now, the people we work with, from the fynbos harvesters and those involved in our natural resource management, to the young children and their families in our Early Childhood Development Programme (ECD), have been severely affected by the Coronavirus-related lockdown.

So here’s how we’re helping during this time in our ECD Programme, and in our Sustainable Harvesting Programme.

 

21 YEARS LATER… 

Right now, our birthday celebrations look a little different than we’d planned. While working from home, we can’t toast our 21st birthday year with you in person. But we can take you on our 21-year journey so far: www.flowervalley.org.za

Here’s to us raising a glass together soon.

Kind regards,

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

Sustainable Fynbos Harvesting

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Sustainable Harvesting Programme

When you pick fynbos sustainably, you not only protect the fynbos kingdom for future generations, you also protect the jobs of those who live by harvesting it sustainably. 

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The global crash of the flower market

Most industries have been hard hit by the Coronavirus. But few are feeling those impacts quite as much as the flower industry. 

In the EU alone, the total production value of flowers amounts to around R400-billion a year. Now, though, the sector has had to shut down as a result of COVID-19.

In the fynbos sector, those impacted most severely are small businesses who harvest fynbos from natural landscapes daily, and sell what they’ve picked to fynbos packsheds. They’re independent suppliers to the packsheds, and in many instances, won’t be able to claim any wages during the lockdown period.

The Flower Valley Conservation Trust team is now undertaking a survey to find out what the needs are during this time, and how harvesters can be supported.

The survey shows that many of these harvesters are affected by the lockdown, as they aren’t currently receiving wages. The greatest need currently is food parcels. Many also didn’t know where to turn to request help, and the few who have been able to apply for assistance from various sources, have not yet received support.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust is now working to connect these harvesters with humanitarian relief programmes in operation in the district. The focus is currently on 40 families that are most in need during this time.

It’s hoped that the sector will be able to see some form of recovery once lockdown is lifted. Traditionally the industry peaks between July and October. Flower exports may have resumed by then, although it’s too early to be sure of this.

Flower Valley is working closely with the Newcastle University in this survey. The university has provided funding to train harvesters to pick fynbos as per the Sustainable Harvesting principles in the past. Currently their ongoing support is allowing us to ascertain the needs of harvesters, and facilitate support. 

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. 

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Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

In the Bailey household, we take Valentine’s Day pretty seriously. At the very least, my wife ‘expects’ (although I try to surprise her) a beautiful bouquet of flowers – preferably fynbos.

Alien clearing: Some good news (amid COVID-19 impacts)

THE CORONAVIRUS MAY HAVE ENDED OUR FIRST YEAR OF THE NEW AGULHAS BIODIVERSITY INITIATIVE (ABI) ALIEN CLEARING PROJECT, IMPLEMENTED BY FLOWER VALLEY CONSERVATION TRUST, EARLIER THAN WE HAD PLANNED.

But the project still managed to clear around 5 700 hectares in just eight months. And it created employment for 144 project participants.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries is funding the project over a three-year period. They are providing funding of R11,9-million between 2019 and 2022. The first year’s budget amounted to R3,7-million. Landowners involved in the project provide co-funding support. And Flower Valley Conservation Trust has raised additional funding for management and monitoring from donors, such as the Drakenstein Trust and the Millennium Trust.

The project has a number of deliverables:

  • To clear invasives for the first time on a site (initial clearing);
  • To undertake follow-up clearing (sites already cleared in the past);
  • To provide both accredited and non-accredited training (including herbicide, first aid training and a course on snake awareness);
  • And to create employment opportunities for our project participants

We’re extremely pleased that our ABI Alien Clearing Project participants are still receiving support while they’re at home during lockdown. We’re very grateful to the Department and our funders for their continued support during this lockdown period.

Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity, not only in the Overberg, but around the world.

Around 45,000 hectares are infested by invasive plants in the Agulhas Plain alone, says the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (a 2018 report). Not only do these invasive plants consume water, resulting in around 5% and 19% flow reductions in the Agulhas Plain, but they’re also closely linked to a changing climate.

To address this threat, the ABI Alien Clearing Project launched in 2013. Since the launch, we’ve worked with nine land user groups (such as conservancies), to clear strategically across the landscape. The nine conservancies together cover around 110 000 hectares.

The nine conservancies are:

The work forms part of Flower Valley’s Natural Resource Management Programme – through which we aim to protect our fynbos-covered landscapes for life and livelihoods.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Natural Resource Management: Alien Clearing

When invasive alien plants are removed from our fynbos biome, our river courses, wetlands and other natural landscapes, then nature can provide her bounty uninterrupted.  

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Flower Valley’s latest news

Flower Valley’s latest news

In the Bailey household, we take Valentine’s Day pretty seriously. At the very least, my wife ‘expects’ (although I try to surprise her) a beautiful bouquet of flowers – preferably fynbos.