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Introduction to this extensive ribbon afforestation project

Planting an aesthetic corridor: Entrance avenue on Lorraine

Planting an aesthetic corridor: Entrance avenue on Lorraine

It has become painfully clear that Global Climate Change is taking a serious toll on the stability of weather patterns, water resources and agriculture in our region. This winter has been virtually non-existent. As per NASA climate records, July 2010 has been the hottest month globally, on record, ever, since record taking began. These seemingly abstract statistics are being felt on the ground and the agricultural sector is bound to suffer.

Hence, to preclude the worst effects of Global Climate Change, we have embarked on “Reclamation Projects” on each producer’s property in the western Breede River Valley of the Western Cape. This project has two aims; one, to enhance nature and secure natural resources, and two, to enhance the human environment and prepare properties for agri-tourism opportunities.

Lorraine entrance avenue in the spring, 3-years later

Lorraine entrance avenue in the spring, 3-years later

The reclamation projects plans to repopulate river courses and water sources (man-made or natural) with indigenous vegetation and trees. This will accomplish a reduction in summer evaporation and habitat creation for our indigenous fauna. We have serious issues with Australian invasive trees, particularly Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii), taking over areas near any water body. These trees are water hungry and highly invasive; this reduces water run-off, saps water sources and threatens water security. Without this repopulation initiative, Black Wattle simply continues to re-germinate and take over once more. These initiatives are necessary considering climate change is robbing the region of our water replenishing season, winter.

A very important by-product of the reclamation projects is the creation of carbon sinks. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) places the CO2 absorption of the average tree at 10Kg per annum. In this Fairhills initiative, we plan to plant 7,500 trees by mid-2012. This will translate to an annual carbon sink of 75,000Kg! This is a tremendous impact by just one group of producers.

Congruent with this benefit, trees may also aid in microclimatic changes, slightly reducing local temperatures, increasing transpiration and helping in a small way to offset higher summer temperatures. Already, increased temperatures from January to March are having a negative impact of vineyard yields, increasing human-cooling needs and increasing agricultural water consumption.

Lastly, producers in this region are suffering due to a lack of economic diversification. This in turn harms job-security and alternative employment prospects for the employees and the local community. This reclamation project aims to beautify farms and make them agri-tourism friendly. This small consequence of this initiative could potentially have a much greater impact on the lives and livelihoods of both producers and employees.

Not only will greater financial security aid producers, but it too will provide additional job-security for employees and with agri-tourism growth, so job opportunities are created for both those already employed on farms, but the unemployed within the broader community. A producer with more resources means more can be invested in upgrades, better wages and development projects.

View PDF CAD plans of the complete Lorraine rehabilitation project here:
L101 
Central & west Molenaars River area
L102 Southern & east Molenaars River area
L103 Northern aesthetic corridor area

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