By restoring the integrity of riverine corridors, Karoo communities of plants, people (urban and
rural) and animals can be buffered against the impacts of climate change, particularly critical given
the arid nature of the region. Through a) intensive soil and water conservation techniques; b) re
–establishing vegetation; and c) partnering with farmers to improve sustainable management of
riparian systems, the activity aims to restore cover, biodiversity, productivity and carbon cycles in
these zones. By providing employment opportunities and skills development, the activity is
harnessing the constructive role ecosystem restoration can play in enhancing not only system
resilience, but also human livelihoods and dignity.
The Indigenous Karoo Plant Nursery, established in cooperation with the Ubuntu Municipality, as the
first phase of this activity, now has the capacity to produce in excess of 3000 seedlings from a
range of indigenous Karoo riparian species per year. Propagation techniques have been refined and
methodologies have been shared through knowledge exchanges with the Agricultural and Conservation
Government Departments as well as with civil society.
Active climate change intervention in the form of restoration technologies (soil conservation
techniques, seeding and planting of indigenous riparian plants) in riparian areas undergoing
-Extensive micro-catchment (pit) excavations to slow runoff and retain moisture;
-Soil stabilization through erosion controls;
-Re-planting of degraded denuded areas with nursery-propagated plant species;
-Seeding of degraded areas to encourage vegetation recover;
-Exclusion of livestock to allow for recovery;
-Maintenance of restoration areas (primarily erosion controls);
-Monitoring of restoration success;
-Adaptive management techniques as determined by weather and monitoring results.
Two communities are engaged in the activity: The Karoo farming community, on whose land restoration
activities take place; and the impoverished urban community in Loxton, for whom employment is created
during restoration work and at the Nursery.
The farming community was engaged through the Biodiversity Stewardship process; a mechanism that
supports the wise use and management of natural resources and biodiversity, and the ecosystem
services they provide, through voluntary legal agreements between private/communal landowners/users
and provincial conservation authorities. As such pro-active measures are taken within the
agricultural sector, which is both a contributor to, and vulnerable to climate change, to boost
climate change resilience. The EWT-RRP was instrumental in establishing four Riverine Rabbit
Conservancies in the Karoo, in partnership with provincial authorities.
As restoration is a labor -intensive process requiring skills development, the project contributes to
providing socio-economic opportunities for the impoverished communities of the towns of the Karoo.
In-service training is provided to develop the relevant skills at the EWT -RRP’s Indigenous
Karoo Plant Nursery, as well as in the field at restoration sites, thereby creating employment and
skills development in impoverished urban communities with otherwise limited employment opportunities.
Women are trained in indigenous Karoo plant propagation, including aspects such as plant
identification, seed collection, and transplanting methodologies. These are all part of the specific
skill set required for the successful functioning of the Nursery (mostly transferable to general
The activity has the potential to develop a cost-effective model to do ecosystem-level restoration
using the same methodology, but at a broader scale and with benefits clearly demonstrated.
The proposed up scaling and consolidation of the current project will facilitate:
-Ecosystem based adaptation in the Karoo;
-Improved integrated water resources management, which is critical in terms of climate change for
-Restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems resilience;
-Potential for biodiversity offsets which will facilitate more sustainable and biodiversity-friendly
-Potential for Payment for Ecological Services system in the long term;
-Improved sustainable practices in the agricultural sectors;
-Improving livelihoods of the relevant communities;
-Development of a better understanding and pro-active buy-in by selected stakeholders (public
and private) of the strategic importance of ecosystem-based adaptation for sustainable development
and of its practical implementation in a cost-effective manner.