News

1000 Tree ‘Cocoons’ To Help Restore Berg River

28 September 2015

Cape Town – In an effort to improve the Berg River’s water quality and quantity, a joint partnership has been formed between the Western Cape Government Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and the government of the Netherlands in South Africa.

Today, a memorandum of cooperation was signed which marks the celebration of commitment between the Western Cape Government and the Dutch Government to make a tangible difference and change for the preservation of the Cape’s natural environment. One of the projects is to plant tree Cocoons along the Berg River Catchment Area that will help restore the ecosystem of this valuable natural commodity. The Cocoon is an innovative Dutch product, developed by the Land Life Company, designed to facilitate the survival of tree seedlings.

Over the next two to three months, 1000 cocoons containing indigenous tress found along the Berg River, such as Yellow wood and Wild Olive, will be planted to restore and rehabilitate the riparian zone along the River. Head of Department for Western Cape Government Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Piet van Zyl, who signed the Memorandum said; “We recognise the achievements being made and the opportunities that yet lie ahead between our two organizations. The Berg River Improvement Plan, developed by my Department, set out to promote simple yet innovative solutions to the many challenges we face in preventing pollution of our freshwater resources.”

The tree Cocoons are designed in such a way that no irrigation systems are needed. When planted it is watered and this creates a water column reservoir within the cocoon that sustains and feeds the tree for months – allowing it to firmly establish itself and grow strongly in its early stages. The Cocoons not only provide employment opportunities but are also a more sustainable and water-wise way of greening an area.

At the signing ceremony, a ceremonial planting of the first tree Cocoon in the garden of the Residency of the Netherlands in Higgovale was undertaken. Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ms. Bonnie Horbach: “The Netherlands is the Western Cape’s largest export destination. A clean Berg River as the lifeline for sustainable agriculture is crucial for our trade relationship. We are proud that together we have found a solution involving an innovative Dutch product – which to me is a true example of #cocreateSA.” Van Zyl said: “This Memorandum and ceremonial planting presents a broader picture: how innovative technology is being introduced into the improvement of the Berg River. This partnership has been grown through a shared vision and the ability to work better together. The cocoon represents a system that may be able to include and empower communities and responsible land owners to further the goals of investing in ecological infrastructure, for the resilience needed in the face of an ever changing world.”