Restoring fragmented habitats using eland as a veld management tool

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Petro Botha

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With the ongoing threats to biodiversity and pressure from human activities on the unique flora of the Cape, the need for modern restoration and conservation practices has emerged. Experimenting with new tools to restore and conserve fragmented habitats is creating opportunities for novel veld management practices in the urban environment. The aim is to reach a balance between human needs while restoring and protecting biodiversity and eco-system services and functioning in the face of climate change. Remaining natural areas within the Cape hold a high biodiversity value and through understanding and enhancing the way we restore these fragmented areas, we will enhance the way people experience and value such sites. The Gantouw Project is testing a restoration tool for modern conservation practises on small, isolated conservation areas in Cape Town, and involves using habituated eland antelope to combat bush encroachment. It is expected that the eland’s browse and trampling activity will reduce canopy size, opening up the veld resulting in changes to faunal and floral communities, mimicking historical actions of large herbivores. The method of using eland as a veld management tool, apart from the ecological value, is also proving to have other beneficial spin-offs to youth of the local community. Employment opportunities are created for youth as eland monitors. Eland monitors go through various skills development programmes, contributing to growing the green economy of South Africa. Mystical eland, once a sacred animal to the San people of southern Africa, are important ambassadors, connecting people, young and old, with nature.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration