Shaping nature - Restoration of forest ecosystems

Published: June 2019
Last edited: June 2019

In addition to its original conceptualization as a mitigation project, the Buffelsdraai Landfill Site Community Reforestation Project delivers several important adaptation benefits, ensuring the improved supply of a large number of other ecosystem services (e.g. water quality, flood attenuation, sediment regulation, river flow regulation). All of these ecosystem services further enhance the adaptive capacity of local communities and reduce the impacts of short- and long-term climate hazards such as heavy rain events with high erosive capacity, floods and erosion on local residents and grey infrastructure. Thus, it demonstrates the strong and vital link that exists between natural ecosystems and the human communities they support and protect, and between the human communities that support, restore and protect local ecosystems.

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

  • Support for the project from local leaders and commitment of community members.
  • Neighboring communities understanding the objectives and benefits of the project.
  • Partnership between the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department (EPCPD) and the Durban Solid Waste Department (DSW).
  • Seed funding from the Danish government and co-funding from the National Green Fund.

Lessons learned

  • The project has demonstrated that forest restoration can provide direct socio-economic benefits to surrounding communities through enhanced ecosystem functioning.
  • Further interrogation and evaluation of the project benefits is required. For example, the full extent of ecological and ecosystem service benefits – such as improvements in water quality, river flow regulation, flood mitigation, sediment control, visual amenity, and fire risk reduction  – are not yet fully measured and/or apparent.