A fast-changing landscape requires new partnerships, adaptive management and purpose-built technology

17 August 2020

“Veld management is critical in re-establishing veld back to its natural state, subsequently ensuring optimal productivity. It is aimed at eradicating invasive and encroaching plant species and it helps minimise overgrazing while preventing erosion,” – Divan Vermaak, Husqvarna’s veld management specialist.

As part of an ongoing effort to address land management issues, brought on by climate change, the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF), the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) and Husqvarna SA have formed a strategic partnership that helps land managers and owners create a more sustainable ecological environment.

Thanks to Husqvarna’s veld management and Silent NatureTM initiatives, they have implemented modern-day technologies, that better equip agricultural practitioners and farmers, nature and conservation organisations, landowners and land managers to deal with land and land cover management challenges.

“By educating and training these relevant persons and organisations on the best practice models for veld management, we will better equip them to deal with the fast-changing landscape and the challenges it brings to the communities of Southern Africa,” explains Divan Vermaak, Husqvarna’s veld management specialist.

(Photo credit: Cobus Meiring)

Persisting drought, changes in rainfall patterns, bush encroachment, resilient alien invasive plants and other contributing factors, brought on by climate change in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, have had a significant impact on land use in these sub-Saharan African countries.

Very recently in South Africa, urban and semi-urban communities in the Western and Southern Cape had to deal with a very real situation when a number of wildfire disasters, more often than not fuelled by the presence of high densities of invasive alien plant biomass and persistent drought, came close to completely devouring towns like Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Hermanus and the outskirts of Cape Town.

Aggressive regrowth of invasive alien plants covering the landscape, following the 2017 Knysna and Plettenberg Bay wildfire disaster, now poses a renewed threat to the area and has a profoundly negative impact on the highly sensitive ecology of the Southern Cape Garden Route.

“In bordering countries like Namibia and Botswana, massive bush encroachment has taken its toll on agricultural land and it has resulted in thousands of hectares of high-value land being deemed practically worthless,” states Cobus Meiring, chairperson of the GREF Secretariat.

“As part of an ongoing effort to address land management issues brought about by climate change, the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) looks at the urgency to engage and form partnerships to create a more sustainable natural environment,” says Meiring.

According to Vermaak, veld management is critical in re-establishing veld back to its natural state, subsequently ensuring optimal productivity. It is aimed at eradicating invasive and encroaching plant species and it helps minimise overgrazing while preventing erosion.

For more information, please send an email to Divan Vermaak for guidelines on veld management, email: Divan.Vermaak@husqvarnagroup.com

(Photo credit: Husqvarna SA)

 

Eradicating invasive and pernicious alien plant species plays a major role in allowing natural vegetation and plants to re-establish themselves.

It also minimises the devastation of overgrazing and erosion and reduces the potential for fires.

 

 

ABOUT SILENT NATURETM      The Husqvarna Silent Nature is a revolutionary concept and was born as a new way of caring for parks, gardens, landscaped areas, forests and game reserves by using high-performance battery and robotic tools with the quiet, clean convenience of long-lasting lithium-ion batteries. These tools boast also the necessary power and performance without needing petrol and refuelling. With no direct emissions, the handheld battery tools are also 100% smoke-free and contribute to a “more silent and greener” philosophy.

 

*** The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a regional forum for collaboration in conservation, environmental adaptation and community interaction. The forum aims to coordinate regional conservation efforts, serves as a catalyst to drive climate adaption practices in the Southern Cape and strives to establish a better-coordinated approach to environmental management.

Written by Marti Kirstein