The economics of restoration in South Africa – ASSET Research project

ASSET Research, in partnership with SAEON and with the support of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), is developing and populating South Africa’s first database on the economics of restoration (https://assetresearch.org.za/media-resources/). This will equip policy- and decision-makers as well as restoration practitioners to take informed, science-based decisions with respect to restoration. It will also advance the science, business and practice of restoration in general. The database will be used to develop an open access and user-friendly online system dynamics modelling tool that will enable users to simulate the benefits and costs of their own restoration projects.

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Using goats to control the spread of invasive alien plants

Using goats to control invasive alien plants could provide an economic opportunity for small livestock farmers in South Africa. Goat farmers can become entrepreneurs that run alien plant clearing goat herds and so become indispensable in the fight to control and eradicate invasive plants. There is also the great advantage of the goats being a lucrative source of meat and skins with a ready market. We have invasive alien plants in almost every part of South Africa and if properly managed, goats for aliens could become economically important in smaller rural communities.

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Clearing stinkbean in the Kamma River – August/September 2020

These alien trees invade the wetlands, changing both the plant composition and the soil surface stability. This ultimately results in canalisation and increased flow of the water out of the wetland as well as the formation of severe erosion head-cuts, which voraciously eat back into the less protected wetland substrate with each flood. The peat wetlands then begin to suffer the loss of their function as storage systems for water and carbon.

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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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