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Greening Robben Island one tree at a time

In support of Robben Island Museum’s revegetation programme, to plant 10 00 trees in the next five years, Konica Minolta South Africa and NPO Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) planted 101 indigenous trees on Wednesday, 18 September 2019 in celebration of what would have been 101 years since Madiba’s birth, and to coincide with this September’s Arbor Month.

“Over the past 300 years, Robben Island’s landscape has been extensively modified as exotic shrubs and trees have been introduced,” said Morongoa Ramaboa, spokesperson for the Robben Island Museum (RIM). “We aim to plant more than 10 000 indigenous trees over the next five years, creating a sustainable habitat that can also be home to seabirds, especially endangered African penguins and other species that form part of the island’s landscape,” she said.

Robben Island plays host to a sensitive coastal ecosystem with many indigenous bird species. As such, planting indigenous trees will help to support the natural ecosystem functions and help the many species to stabilise and thrive on the island. RIM’s Integrated Conservation Management Plan (ICMP) takes into account the rehabilitation of the island’s natural vegetation as well as the removal of alien vegetation. Establishing the indigenous flora is not only the ‘water-wise’ option; it will also encourage sea birds to inhabit the island.

“We are grateful for this generous gesture from Konica Minolta South Africa as this helps us to implement our rehabilitation plan. Robben Island is one of only 10 World Heritage Sites in South Africa (for its cultural and heritage landscape) and we’ve just been declared a Marine Protected area. Therefore, there is a growing conservation need for the island,” said Ramaboa.

“We’re proud to contribute to South Africa’s natural and historical heritage,” said Konica Minolta South Africa’s CEO, Marc Pillay. “Our partnership with NPO Food & Trees for Africa has been going for 11 years and has enriched community spaces while helping to offset carbon emissions and better the environment.  We’re committed to returning to Robben Island to continue this work in the future, facilitated by our partner Food & Trees for Africa.”

Robben Island Museum calls on other organisations to help plant 9899 more trees in support of the island’s growing environmental needs. To donate more trees, please email Morongoa Ramaboa on morongoar@robben-island.org.za or Sabelo Madlala (Environmental Manager) – Sabelom@robben-island.org.za.

To follow this event or find out more about Robben Island Museum, visit Twitter (@Robben_island) or Facebook (@RobbenIslandDAC). You can also visit the RIM website at http://www.robben-island.org.za/. To find out more about the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF), visit https://whc.unesco.org/en/awhf and https://awhf.net/african-world-heritage-day/.