Promoting sustainable use of natural resources

Promoting sustainable use of natural resources

We seek to promote the sustainable use of natural resources among urban harvester groups in Cape Town. Our work responds to the threat to the Cape Fynbos biome as a result of the unsustainable harvesting of plants for cultural and medicinal purposes for which there is a high demand in urban communities. Our research on this challenge identified the role of traditional healers who, though reliant on indigenous flora for medicine and rituals, have a strong awareness of the need to sustain natural habitats and linkage between the environment and culture. Working with these individuals, we have sought to address the unsustainable demand through creating alternative systems of supply in local gardens and street based planting. Our Herbanisation project in Seawinds and Retreat, for example, built awareness on the importance of indigenous flora, contributed to the greening of the streetscape and made sources of medicinal plants locally available.