The Bottelary Hills Conservancy’s mandate lies in the conservation and protection of the Renosterveld. The sustainable management of the Renosterveld centres around the clearing of invasive trees such as Eucalyptus, Port Jackson, Black Wattle and Rooikrans. These tree species pose a threat to biodiversity as they consume precious water, much needed for endemic plants to flourish. They also create sterile soil conditions, inhibiting plant growth that supports the Bottelary ecosystem. Conservancy members can receive this clearing service free of charge since the Conservancy covers all costs from income received by the MTB trial and funding from LandCare, a community based and Department of Agriculture supported programme.
For 2015 and going forward, the Conservancy also aims to widen its focus by situating itself in the South African and global context of sustainable development, especially through its status as an UNESCO world heritage site. To achieve this, the Conservancy approached the Sustainability Institute of Stellenbosch University to initiate an integrative project that includes all residents and partners of the Bottelary Hills Conservancy to partake in various initiatives. These project initiatives include the following:
- Establishing a locally sourced and trained invasive tree clearing team
- Designing a status document to form partnerships with institutions and businesses
- Initiate organic vegetable production by willing farm workers in their free time
- Wood waste upcycling for product manufacturing such as biochar or charcoal
- Providing opportunities for case study research to university students
The first step to drive these initiatives was achieved by building valuable relationships with committed farm residents, farm owners, private businesses, university departments, governmental bodies, organisations and other conservancies. The next step is to implement these initiatives throughout 2016 and beyond.
For more information on the project, please see the following links: