Yesterday, the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, opened the Worcester field reserve Restoration and Green indigenous tree nursery at the Worcester Veld Reserve in Worcester.
Speaking at the opening Minister Meyer said that climate change was a ministerial priority and that the nursey is one of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's interventions to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Meyer: "The Worcester Veld Reserve indigenous Tree Nursery was established in collaboration with the Breedekloof Wine & Tourism which represents approximately 30 cellars and other partners such as the NGO, Change Makers Rehab Centre and French NGO, Reforestation." Meyer continues: "The nursery will directly contribute to the restoration of ecological infrastructure in our landscapes that plays a vital role to support agriculture."
According to the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's Director for Sustainable Resource Use and Management, Ashia Petersen, functioning ecosystems provide a wealth of ecological services to farmers, rural communities and downstream economic centres. Petersen: " Water quality and quantity, the regulation of streamflow, the prevention of soil erosion are 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 further highlights 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 explains further: "Although this kind of restoration cannot protect against severe droughts or wildfire, the impacts are reduced through the natural buffering capacity of functional ecosystems".
Meyer highlights 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.