Meijer’s Rust Restoration

In 2010, Barry Meijer returned from the United States where he had lived for the last 35 years. He’d had great memories of his time in the army at Oudtshoorn so he decided to buy a farm there. Barry had grown up on a farm near Eshowe and, while running his garden services business in California, he had done some sideline farming of oats and barley, so he knew a little about farming. When he started farming at Meijer’s Rust in Meiringspoort near the town of De Rust he continued what had been done there before and if he needed any advice, he asked the neighbours.

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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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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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