OVERBERG RENOSTERVELD CONSERVATION TRUST NEWS
Newsletter 21, April 2020
by Dr Odette Curtis-Scott.
Nature bounces back – when humans take a step back
The world is a strange place right now. For the first time in many of our ‘living memories’, the entire globe is being impacted by something that is affecting each and every one of us directly.
Covid-19 is also teaching us many valuable lessons, and in many ways, it is teaching us to be more efficient. Because of the lockdown, we have not been able to travel to meetings and have instead held very productive discussions on Zoom or Skype – technologies that are enabling us to reduce carbon footprints and save precious time. I am determined to see the ORCT adopt this kind of approach into the future, and I believe many others are thinking along the same lines.
Of course, this time has been frustrating too… we are restricted to doing everything we can from home and we cannot go into the veld. This has also meant that the ‘induction’ period for our new staff member, Grant Forbes (our new Extension Officer), has had to happen remotely and not with the ‘bang’ that we had hoped for (nevertheless, we are thrilled to welcome Grant to our team!).
It has also postponed many of our face-to-face easement negotiations, the development of important management plans (as these require field surveys) and the implementation of restoration interventions which we had planned over this time (including 3 ecological burns which will now have to wait until 2021!). Still we do have good news to share: the recent signing of 2 conservation easements (shortly before lockdown was implemented – we have more info below).
There are a number of tragic stories that have been told as a result of Covid-19. But there have also been some unexpected positive stories, demonstrating how quickly nature ‘bounces back’ when humans take a step back. This gives me hope. It is a reminder that there are places in the world where nature is still more resilient that we expected and where a few relatively small changes to our lifestyle can have such positive outcomes for our planet.
Our mission to continue fighting for the conservation of our precious Renosterveld is fuelled by the desire to ‘help’ these remnants to maintain and build this resilience and to ensure that these ecosystems continue functioning long after you and I have left this Earth.