The implications of a “project” mindset on ecological restoration at the community level – Mpophomeni township as a case study

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Faye Brownell

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The Mpophomeni enviro-champs are lauded as a best practice model for a community-based approach to catchment management and restoration. Vital work to help “Save Midmar Dam” has been undertaken by a handful of community members for several years, and they were recently mentioned in the Presidential Jobs Summit Framework Agreement. However, when one scratches under the surface, the tale of the Enviro-champs and their essential work is one of two steps forward, and one step back. Funding has been from several sources, over various time frames, with disparate objectives, resulting in loss of momentum, and at times disillusionment. The Mpophomeni Enviro-champs are just one example of how short-term funding cycles impact negatively on effective, sustainable ecological restoration at a community level. The approach to community-based ecological restoration needs to shift to long-term programming that is built into the “operations” of responsible authorities. The business case for this approach is clear, with the annual operating cost of maintaining community teams much lower than the cost of refurbishment, rehabilitation and/or replacement due to the lack of daily maintenance of our ecosystems. The benefit to the natural environment is only one of the impacts; the social impact within the broader community being equally important. With a long-term funding mindset, ecological restoration moves from the simple tasks of clearing, cleaning, and monitoring, to broader education and social change of an entire community and its relationship to the natural environment. Surely this should be our goal.  

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration