Restoration of the land and the people in Vanwyksdorp

The community of Vanwyksdorp, a little agricultural village in the heart of the arid Little Karoo, was stuck in a status quo of depopulation of rural agriculture, unemployment, poverty and helplessness. Vanwyksdorp has a good school but the situation was exacerbated by the annual exodus of school leavers, full of knowledge and expectations, only to find a world of closed doors and very few or no opportunities.

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Saving Critically Endangered Peninsula Granite Fynbos from extinction at Tokai Park, Cape Town

Peninsula Granite Fynbos is wholly confined to the City of Cape Town and found only on the lower, more fertile slopes of Table Mountain on the Cape Peninsula. Peninsula Granite Fynbos is perhaps best symbolised on Table Mountain by the Silver Tree, but is also incredibly rich in plant species and contains nine endemic species, all threatened with extinction: Unistem Aristea (Critically Endangered), Granite Cape Flax (Critically Endangered), Crown-climbers Friend (Rare), Small-flowered doll-rose (Rare), Spreading Everfig (Vulnerable), and Bakoven Brightfig (Vulnerable). Peninsula Granite Fynbos was also the home of the Wynberg Conebush and Table Mountain Widow Reed, but these species have been wiped out as a result of housing and agricultural developments and are now extinct.

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Cork oak forest restoration in the Maamora cork oak forest in Morocco (June to December 2019)

While working on a management plan for a hunting farm (situated between the Mediterranean Sea in the North and the Atlas mountains in the South) in Morocco, North Africa, we came across a valiant effort to restore the Maamora cork oak forest. This forest has been subjected to overharvesting and overgrazing for many decades.

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Breeding resilience amongst all odds

I have decided that the degradation that took place will not determine my future. The sun is setting on a degraded past and rising to a restorative future. We are the generation that must act; I acted on my farm. This is was able to do with the help of a large number of people, including the Subtropical Thicket Restoration Programme, the restoration unit of Rhodes University, Living Lands, and the Government of South Africa.

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