The EcoHealth Network sponsored a symposium entitled “How ecological restoration improves public health: Synergies for local action” at the Society for Ecological Restoration conference in Cape Town. The session, led by EHN Steering Committee members James Aronson and Laura Orlando, featured six presentations exploring the links between ecological restoration and public health. This is a topic that has been largely overlooked in the global restoration community, and the EHN symposium was a good opportunity to call attention to it.
Presentations featured as part of the panel — with recordings where available — are as follows:
Arid land rehabilitation in the Karoo, South Africa – Building skills, networks, and positive attitudes in globally-troubled times
Landscape restoration in Rwanda: Experience with the development of a Payments for Ecosystem Services system
Linking Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), native grassland and soil health, and human health on Indigenous traditional lands (see abstract)
Cristina Eisenberg and Monroe Fox
Investigating the impacts of environmental pollution and highlighting the need for environmental restoration (see abstract)
Urban ecological restoration in Aotearoa New Zealand (see abstract)
Bruce D. Clarkson
Ecological restoration’s impact on public health: Results of a literature review, some reflections and predictions (see abstract)
EHN Steering Committee members James Aronson and Laura Orlando also spent time visiting a couple of field sites near Cape Town.
They made a stop in the Banhoek Valley outside Stellenbosch to talk with colleagues from the Banhoek Conservancy about their efforts to remove alien vegetation in the region and implement wider conservation measures. The Conservancy generates income for their activities by providing a network of off-road tracks for athletic training (primarily mountain biking and distance running).
James and Laura also visited the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy in the Langeberg region of the Western Cape. The Conservancy is comprised of 19 farmers and landowners working together to protect and restore natural resources on private land throughout the Grootvadersbosch Valley. In addition, they explored project sites of the South African government’s hugely successful Working for Water programme.