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Cape Town is a biodiversity hotspot where high levels of inequality and an Apartheid past maintain the landscape as socially isolated bubbles perpetuated by social, spatial and mobile divisions. Therefore, Cape Town is characterised by high ecological and social Beta diversity where location specificity and sensitivity makes movement of humans, plants, and animals between areas highly complex. Small isolated reservations of remaining vegetation within the city are vulnerable to degradation but strategically key because they host locally endemic species not hosted elsewhere (Fletcher 2018, Fahrig 2018). Presently, they require connectivity to other populations for sustainable long-term conservation. Pauw and Louw (2012) suggest that schools are key to building sunbird stepping-stone corridors that restore pollen flow between isolated remnants of vegetation. Public spaces and garden biodiversity are key to insect-scale connectivity. Working across sensitive differences in the social and ecological context of Cape Town required a novel approach to corridor building where schools act as social nodes for initial social integration across social divides, and from there expand into a network that builds up into an eco-corridor. In this cooperative approach across multiple local community groups and NPOs, schools are used as key centres of biodiversity restoration. This is further expanded by incorporating the restoration of surrounding public open spaces and private gardens. Schools are points of call for knowledge exchange and innovation. Surrounding public spaces are areas for sharing and expanding that biodiversity resource, building, developing and deepening restorative relationships between peoples and between people, plants and animals.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Society for Ecological Restoration