Don’t buy her flowers, plant a Spekboom in her honour!
Samara Private Game Reserve is well known as the ‘Land of Serenity’, because of its peaceful surroundings and vast landscapes, and with the ongoing success of their Spekboom conservation project, they are ensuring that the future of this beautiful reserve and its magical landscape remains for generations to come.
“Tourism and conservation go hand in hand,” says Sarah Tompkins, co-founder and director of the Samara Private Game Reserve. That is why the team at Samara’s invest so much of themselves into the land that they find themselves on. Arid landscapes near to an industrious centre don’t offer much thought for conservation. Imagine breathing in the carbon dioxide rich air, stepping onto the poor soil and not seeing a soul for kilometres in any direction. Now imagine a simple and natural way to solve all three of those issues.
Decreasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, enriching soil quality and creating jobs. Enter Samara’s Spekboom conservation project, which is solving environmental, social and economic issues all at once.Sarah and her team identified these needs in the local area and proceeded to come up with a solution. Each international visitor from United Kingdom to South Africa contributes about 2 tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere.
Sarah was also aware that their land had massive areas where over-grazing had left it bare and dry. Lastly, their hearts grew toward those unemployed residents who have called Samara’s land home before the reserve was ever founded. Now, Samara Private Game Reserve is making its name as one of the very first to understand the importance of this conservation and socio economic issue.The success of Samara’s Spekboom project is nothing but remarkable.
This strangely beautiful green succulent is indigenous to the Eastern Cape and has been around for an estimated one thousand years. It is a soft-wooded shrub that stands around 3 metres high with small leaves.Two things make Spekboom significant in the process of Carbon Sequestration:1) it grows at an unprecedented rate across the Eastern Cape landscape, blanketing hills and valleys, and2) it is able to absorb a high amount of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide during the cool night and use it to grow faster during the heat of the day.
To give an idea of how effective Spekboom is at carbon sequestration, 10 hectares of Spekboom is equivalent to taking 26 cars off the road for a year. In addition to the 70 hectare test site that Samara has planted with Dr Anthony Mills (Soil Scientist) in order to prove the benefits of Spekboom conservation, an excess of 10,000 hectares has also been planted, which is the equivalent of removing at least 26,000 cars from the roads for an entire year!
Not many plants or reserves can boast these same feat.To support Samara’s already successful Spekboom conservation project, contact them at http://www.samara.co.za/pledgeform.pdf. Teachers can organise to bring their students into the reserve to be educated on the importance of Spekboom or visitors could even choose to buy a cutting of Spekboom at R300,00 to support the ongoing needs of the project (such as transport, resource and labour costs).