We are happy to report back on our land restoration project at HERD Trust.
We have been very busy at HERD over the last couple of months with various projects helping to restore the land our elephants roam on and areas where due to various environmental forces, there is little to no vegetation. This lack of foilage leads to mass erosion and to nutrients and top soils being washed away.
We have covered around three hectares with our grasslands rejuvenation project, utilising brushpacking and seed planting to facilitate the growth of new vegetation. We have continued to work on different sections on a weekly basis. These are all long-term projects, as nothing in nature happens quickly. We have also built several gully plugs on erosion areas to help the process of halting erosion and backfilling sites with material that will facilitate the regrowth of pioneer grass species.
Our grasslands restoration work incorporates the ploughing of barren areas, then using our organic compost from elephant dung and spreading this over the area to put nutrients into the soil. Following this, we plant grass seeds in the same gullies made by the tractor to prevent them being washed away in the rain, and then cover the area intensively with thorn trees to prevent the new grass from being eaten.
One of the other methods we use to curb erosion on various sites is the use of gully plugs. These are implemented in erosion channels at various points to slow down the flow of water and prevent important soils and materials from being washed away. It helps build up material behind the gully plug to stop erosion and create material for plants to take root in. The gully plugs are in place, helping us to make use of natural materials in our mission to stop erosion.
We are confident in these measures to help restore our land and better look after the elephants’ home.
Thank you to everyone who has helped to support our project through GlobalGiving!
MORE ON THE PROJECT >
It is essential that we tend to the surrounding land in the vicinity where the elephants traverse regularly enroute to the further areas of the reserve. The operation involves the rehabilitation of previously cultivated land to a more stable and naturally representative state.
Our land management plan covers various areas of the reserve, looking to create more sustainable processes. Our project will assist in reducing and preventing the environmental impact of the rescued elephants on the land around the orphanage and homestead. In phase 1 of our land project, we restored 50 hectares of land, and we aim to cover the same area in Phase 2. To let just one year pass without restoring the land the elephant’s traverse can be extremely detrimental to the environment.
Our plan includes removing encroaching tree species and alien or invasive plant species, and reusing plant matter for veld management techniques like Brush-Packing. Indigenous grass seeds will be used to speed up restoration. The soil will be prepared using a tractor and elephant dung compost will be added for nutrition. Branches removed through clearing will form a protective mattress over the soil. Indigenous trees will be planted around them to protect the branches from being pushed over.
The long-term impact of our project includes the regeneration of essential elements to help the environment thrive, as well as to manage corrosion and to ensure a greater diversity and growth of plants and trees. This will help restore balance in grazing areas. It is vital to help ensure the longevity of the conservation as well as the health and well-being of wildlife grazing in these areas, especially for the elephants in our care.