What we do
Natural Resource Management
Sustainable Harvesting Programme
Alien Clearing Programme
The Sustainable Harvesting Programme is one leg of our Natural Resource Management Programme (the other is Alien Clearing Programme).
Our mission is to conserve fynbos landscapes, livelihoods and connect people to nature through collaboration, learning and demonstration.
Flower Valley Conservation Trust has adopted a people-centric approach to conservation. We know that people are the biggest influencers of change. And that’s why we approach solutions using people, planet and profit perspectives in our Natural Resource Management work. This holistic approach towards true sustainability makes Flower Valley Conservation Trust unique.
The Sustainable Harvesting Programme
Within the rural areas of the Overberg, opportunities to make a living are fairly limited. Fynbos – especially the harvesting thereof for the cut-flower industry – provides an important job opportunity for people living here.
Harvesters, mostly women from rural communities, head into fynbos landscapes every day to pick wild flowers. These teams most often operate as micro businesses – and they sell their fynbos to larger suppliers, who either export the fynbos (in bouquets), or sell them locally to retailers.
The Programme was established in 2003
A journey of continuous improvement
The programme assists small suppliers (like these micro businesses) through a journey of continuous improvement, where they are assessed against ethical, environmental and industry standards. We provide support to these businesses based on the needs highlighted following the assessment.
– Kirsten Watson
Why is this needed?
Degradation of habitat through poor management practices – like poor wild harvesting practices and fynbos poaching, is a fynbos extinction risk.
Poor compliance to social and labour standards is a recognised threat, as past research shows. That’s why there’s an urgent need to provide support to these small enterprises, to help them sustain their current markets.
The traceability of product, accurate data and verification of good harvesting practices is a challenge for the industry.
And recent research shows that the viability of small flower harvesting businesses is decreasing, even though the market has seen annual increases in value. This not only risks livelihoods; it also increases the risk of over-harvesting.
That’s why our Sustainable Harvesting Programme promotes a sustainable practice for people and nature, custodianship of our natural systems, and opportunities for empowering local communities.
The Overberg is the core focus area for our Natural Resource Management (including our Sustainable Harvesting Programme), although our footprint does extend beyond this boundary.
Our key focus areas in our Sustainable Harvesting Programme are:
- To promote assurance of good practice to demonstrate sustainable resource use.
- To identify opportunities and promote empowerment of local communities within the green economy.
- To engage landowners, partners and agencies in applying best natural resource management practices.
- To promote research and development for mitigating impacts of fynbos harvesting.
- And to raise awareness on challenges and advancements within the industry, and advocate for action and accountability.
How can we help you?
Become a member of the Sustainable Harvesting Programme.
We can support you and your team through an environmental and ethical journey of improvement, to meet market requirements.
Assess the quality of fynbos harvesting on your property (or of your team).
This helps you better see the health of your Fynbos landscapes, and to understand whether harvesting has benefited, or harmed, your veld. Our team can also give guidance to improve harvesting techniques. (This support is in the Overberg)
Manage and monitor your farm or harvesting area.
A specialist mapper can provide GIS solutions to you, to help you improve your natural areas. (This support is available in the Overberg).
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).
The difference between an average photograph and an eye-catching one doesn’t necessarily require you to buy a new camera.
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.
The Coronavirus may have ended our first year of the new ABI Alien Clearing Project, implemented by Flower Valley Conservation Trust, earlier than we had planned.
Did you know that exposure to plants can boost your health? And in times of lockdown – they can especially support your mental and emotional health.
A new study has highlighted the importance of Silver Brunia (Brunia laevis) as an economic driver for fynbos harvesters. And the potential threats this could hold for the species – and for fynbos pickers.
It’s quite simply not that easy to remove any invasive alien plant. Each species requires a different technique to try to prevent it from re-growing.
Three new and emerging invasive alien species are being targeted on the Agulhas Plain. The plan is to rid the area of these three species – before they spread beyond their current farm boundaries, threatening our region’s biodiversity.
Climbing a fynbos mountain daily, seeing wildlife up close and personal? That’s exactly what fynbos harvesting teams do every day while picking stems for the market.
Fynbos offers a number of tasty foodie options. So on World Food Day (16 October), we’re taking a slightly different view of fynbos – to see how to use fynbos in food (responsibly, of course), and some of the medicinal benefits.
Support our cause
Act today for fynbos
Fynbos faces extreme threats.
Many fynbos species have already gone extinct.
Others literally stand on the brink of extinction.
Act today, to stop the extinction spiral of this truly South African floral heritage.
Fynbos faces extreme threats. Many fynbos species have already gone extinct. Others literally stand on the brink of extinction. Act today, to stop the extinction spiral of this truly South African floral heritage.