Baviaanskloof – Langkloof, South Africa

Bringing back biodiversity through regenerative business models in Baviaanskloof – Langkloof

The Baviaanskloof-Langkloof is situated at the meeting point of three globally unique ecosystems (fynbos, spekboom thicket, and karoo) and has an incredible diversity of flora and fauna/vegetation and animals. In addition, the landscape is a key water source for the region: the Baviaanskloof, Kromme and Kouga rivers that run through the landscape feed into the water supply of the 1.3 million inhabitants of Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and the surrounding area.

Local communities face the same social, economic and political challenges present throughout South Africa, with the Eastern Cape one of the poorest provinces in the country. Landscape degradation, as a result of unsustainable land management, climate-change, and the invasion of alien species, have all led to a loss of ground cover and natural vegetation, soil erosion, a decline in soil health, and water system disruption.

In 2014, Commonland partnered with Living Lands and Grounded to identify business opportunities and facilitate large-scale regeneration. During our collaboration, our partners set up three regenerative companies: Baviaanskloof Development Company (essential oils), Langkloof Honeybush Company (honeybush tea), and Baviaanskloof Bewarea (ecological rehabilitation).

“We must keep the faith in the project and in each other, and you will be amazed about what we can achieve.”

Piet Kruger, Farmer

Challenges

  • Climate change: the current regional drought since 2015 is the worst on record 
  • Fast-growing alien invasive plant species, which push out the original vegetation
  • Unsustainable land management 
  • Distance to market resulting in multiple obstacles to scaling regenerative companies
  • Complex socio-cultural and political environment

Opportunities

  • Leverage strong network and social capital built up with local farming communities over the years
  • Develop existing business cases, such honeybush tea and essential oil production
  • Scale rehabilitation efforts (i.e. clearing invasive species, soil erosion control, fire management) with opportunities to improve methods and efficiency
  • Improve grazing management and build the business case for wildlife by reintroducing intensive grazers such as zebras 
  • Explore benefits of potential carbon credit scheme

Landscape stories

Rehabilitating a water catchment through landscape restoration

Living Lands provides examples of how to better manage areas for farming and for water catchment rehabilitation.

Impact for this landscape

> 75,000

people

introduced to the opportunity of landscape restoration

> 100

jobs

created or supported in 2022

> 10,700

hectares

actively restored since 2014

> 4

business cases

identified or set up

What has happened in the different zones

  • Natural Zone
  • Combined Zone
  • Economic Zone

Regenerating a landscape’s ecological foundation by restoring and protecting native vegetation.

Activities:

  • Re-planting indigenous species
  • Clearing invasive alien species
  • Soil erosion control
  • Fire management

Rehabilitating natural vegetation and supporting improved management of livestock and sustainable harvesting of indigenous crops.

Activities:

  • Rehabilitating vegetation cover
  • Clearing invasive alien species
  • Soil erosion control
  • Fire management
  • Basic infrastructure maintenance
  • Grazing management

Restoring soil health through regenerative agriculture

Activities:

Transitioning to regenerative agricultural practices including intensive livestock production. Marketing and distribution of dried and distilled products. Developing 4 Returns business cases and other interventions to facilitate landscape restoration.

 

More landscapes

Reversing desertification with regenerative practices

A regenerative movement led by a common vision is tackling desertification, halting soil erosion and creating resilient communities.

Restoring wetlands with farmers for greater climate-resilience     

Supporting local farmers to adapt to changing climate conditions, creating a resilient and sustainable agricultural sector.