As an intervention to mitigate the impact of climate change the Western Cape agriculture minister Dr Ivan Meyer opened an indigenous tree nursery in Worcester.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Meyer said climate change was a ministerial priority. The nursery would “directly contribute to the restoration of ecological infrastructure in our landscapes that plays a vital role to support agriculture”.
Meyer indicated the Worcester Veld Reserve Indigenous Tree Nursery was established in collaboration with Breedekloof Wine and Tourism. This body represents about 30 cellars and other partners such as Changemakers Worcester and Reforestation, a French non-governmental organisation.
Nursery provides healthy ecosystem
The Western Cape department of agriculture’s director for sustainable resource use and management, Ashia Petersen, said functioning ecosystems provide a wealth of ecological services to farmers, rural communities and downstream economic centers.
“Water quality and quantity, the regulation of streamflow, the prevention of soil erosion is some of the major benefits of healthy ecosystems. Moreover, the sequestration of carbon in biomass and soils are enabled and supported to regulation of climate change,” she said.
She further highlighted that the restoration of wetlands and riparian zones improves the natural biodiversity in the landscape and reduces flooding risk to farmers along our rivers in the Western Cape.
Petersen also explained that “although this kind of restoration cannot protect against severe droughts or wildfire, the impacts are reduced through the natural buffering capacity of functional ecosystems.’’
Additionally, Meyer highlighted that the restoration of ecological infrastructure has been a cost-effective means of adapting to climate change. Substantial employment opportunities are also often realized.
“This is especially the case during the clearing of invasive alien trees along our rivers and the restoration of these areas with indigenous trees. The Western Cape department of agriculture’s investment in ecological infrastructure’s alien clearing projects created 1000 jobs and rehabilitated 15 000 hectares of agricultural land last year,” concludes Meyer.