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head_conservationAs a reserve Kuzuko is in its infancy. A five-year environmental study has provided us with
the benchmark for a sustainable re-growth of the area to its natural habitat. Working in
conjunction with South African National Parks a programme was embarked upon to re-stock the area with game that was indigenous to the area. Due to the negative impact that years of goat farming have had on the vegetation, the current stocking levels are low and on par with a sustainable utilization approach.

specboomGame had to be introduced in phases – antelopes, elephant and buffaloes were introduced when the vegetation had begun to recover (which included the removal of at least 250ha of alien vegetation). Predators were only introduced in 2007 when there was sufficient game to sustain their numbers. Kuzuko is committed to the conservation of disease-free elephants, black rhino, mountain zebra. In 2005, after an absence of 150 years, elephants and black rhinos were released on to Kuzuko.

Kuzuko cultivate & re-plant SPEKBOOM (PORTULACARIA AFRA)

Cuttings are used to combat soil erosion. Leaves are eaten by Khoisan women who have insufficient milk for their babies. Forms 80% of the Elephants diet in the Addo Elephant Park. They each consume an average of 200 kg of food per day, but do not ‘destroy’ this plant as it has a symbiotic relationship with Spekboom. In feeding the elephant breaks off branches, eats off them and then discards the branch which re-roots itself.

Spekboom has enormous carbon-storing capabilities. Its capacity to offset harmful carbon emissions is equivalent to that of moist, subtropical forest.This is quite incredible – evidence gathered in the Eastern Cape over the past seven years shows that Spekboom has enormous carbon-storing capabilities. Spekboom, an indigenous plant known as “elephant’s food”, shows potential to mop up the excess CO2 responsible for climate change, and make a fortune for SA on the international carbon trading market.

The unassuming plant, Portulacaria afra, is now being restored in thousands of hectares of land, which is worth between 10billion… and 20-billion a year in Europe. Findings suggest that up to four tons of carbon a year would be captured by each hectare. Spekboom is an evergreen succulent that can reach a height of 2,5m and occurs mainly in the south-eastern Cape. Normally found in rocky, dry areas, it also does well in watered flower beds. Rates of carbon storage by re-planted Spekboom were measured on a farm near Uitenhage.

About 27 years ago the farmer, Graham Slater, became tired of dealing with regular flooding of his barn and set about replanting the adjacent degraded hill slope with Spekboom. “The two-metre high growth of Spekboom on bare ground under only 250mm to 350mm of annual rainfall was almost miraculous,” said Cowling. Each hectare of Spekboom on the farm sequestered 4,2 tons of carbon a year.

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