Langkloof, home of honeybush
An iconic South African landscape with sustainable business solutions to degradation.
Delicious apples and honeybush tea are produced in the Langkloof – a biodiversity hotspot in South Africa. However, degradation due to unsustainable farming in the past and alien invasive trees threaten this important ecosystem and water catchment.
Situated in a world biodiversity hotspot in the Cape Floristic Region, the Langkloof is South Africa’s apple growing region, and is also home to several indigenous Honeybush species that grow in the remaining patches of the native fynbos vegetation.
The Kouga and Kromme catchments, or the Langkloof, lie adjacent to the Baviaanskloof catchment. Seventy percent of the water supply to Port Elizabeth city comes from the Kouga, Baviaans and Kromme catchments.
The Langkloof is risk prone, with regular droughts, floods and wildfires making life difficult for those who live in the area. This natural characteristic, coupled with the loss of wetlands that act as a natural water buffer and the invasion of alien tree species, has shaped the catchment areas, affecting the water supply for everyone downstream. As a result Port Elizabeth, one of the largest cities in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, now faces severe water shortages regularly.
In the mountains of the Langkloof, wild honeybush numbers are gradually declining. Invasive species such as black wattle and pines are rapidly taking over certain areas whilst pushing out indigenous species at a staggering rate. In the valley, apples are being farmed, using high levels of pesticides leading to water pollution and health risks for those living in the area. Apples use high volumes of water and the area has been facing water shortages and droughts over the past 20 years. Therefore, more and more farmers are seeking ways to diversify from apple farming by cultivating crops which are less sensitive to environmental risks and need less pesticides.
This Landscape has the potential to turn the losses from degradation into 4 returns. There are already restoration initiatives working towards ambitious goals.
The wild honeybush will be harvested in the combined zone. It is not a zone that farmers will use intensively because it is a more wild zone and not productive enough for other agricultural products.
The economic zone is where the cultivation of honeybush takes place, which will be done in a sustainable way without use of pesticides. This is contrary to what is mostly seen in relation to cultivation of apples in the Langkloof.
Find out more
For more in-depth content see also this video as part of this free Massive Open Online Course on Business Model Innovation for Sustainable Landscape Restoration: