International delegates visited nature project sites in Cape Town on Tuesday to see how South Africa was contributing to ecological restoration. Picture: Supplied.
Cape Town - International delegates visited nature project sites in Cape Town to see how South Africa was contributing to ecological restoration prior to the 8th World Conference on Ecological Restoration.

Field trips were held on Tuesday under the theme “Make a Difference”, where delegates cleared invasive plants at Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, Intaka Island and the Black River.

The 8th World Conference on Ecological Restoration will take place in Cape Town until Saturday.

Specialist programme manager for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Debbie Muir, said: “Aquatic weeds clog the river system and make the water quality worse, and reduce the amount of water available to the surrounding communities.

“The delegates, being able to visit the projects and contribute to them, allows them to see how our country is participating in ecological restoration.”

Visitors removed plastic and waste from the river, and observed how effective the Aquatic Weeds Programme had been with regards to the clean-up.

Executive director of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Bethanie Walder said the conference could not be happening at a more relevant time because Cape Town, and broader South Africa, was implementing forward-thinking restoration programmes such as Working for Water.

Walder said: “Working for Water has addressed increasingly severe droughts and other impacts of climate change, and also provided integrated benefits by enhancing local community economies.

“Working for Water and its related initiatives are among the best examples in the world of integrating ecological, economic and social goals and it perfectly exemplifies the conference theme - restoring land, water and community resilience.”

The conference is hosted by SER, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the SA Water Research Commission.

It will host more than 800 delegates from more than 40 countries around the world and will provide debate and discussion on the science, practice and policy of ecological restoration globally.

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