Mahkanda Spekboom Restoration

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Project name: Spekboom Restoration - Makhanda
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
Technology: AFOLU-ARR*, Restoration, Carbon Removal
Standard: Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
Estimated tonnes of CO2 removal: ~240,000 over the project’s lifetime
Impact highlights: Biodiversity, water security, soil restoration

AFOLU-ARR: The project type is Agriculture Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) and the type of activity is Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation (ARR).

Why the Eastern Cape?

South Africa's Eastern Cape has undergone a land transformation and degradation spanning several centuries. This process has been driven by various factors, including the clearance of the original ecosystem for livestock production, over-intensive grazing practices, and prolonged periods of drought. Consequently, the degradation of land in this region has been closely connected with the increase of unemployment and poverty levels.

To tackle these pressing challenges, this project is restoring landscapes and promoting sustainable land use. Our project aims to restore 1,050 hectares of degraded agricultural lands while collaborating closely with local partners in this region of South Africa.

Why Spekboom?

Restoring forests, peatlands, mangroves, and other natural solutions worldwide can provide more than a third of the greenhouse gas mitigation needed by 2030. Spekboom stands out due to its exceptional ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere, even in harsh environmental conditions. This resilient succulent species possesses remarkable physiological characteristics. Spekboom has been identified as a key species that can be used to restore the Sub-tropical Thicket biome, offering a cost-effective approach and numerous co-benefits.


Enhancing biodiversity

Spekboom provides nutrient-dense leaves and nectariferous flowers that increase habitat, food source, and biodiversity for large fauna, birds, and flora species. It encourages a micro-climate that enables other thicket species to re-emerge.

Restoring soil and avoiding erosion

The soil-binding roots and the low-hanging branches which touch the ground act as ‘resource traps’ capturing leaf litter, eroding soils, and seeds. This trapped leaf litter decomposes to become soil organic carbon.

Supporting the community

The project will engage and involve local communities throughout the restoration process. Economic improvement of Local communities by providing employment opportunities within different communities and locations that currently have an unemployment rate of more than 60 percent.

Improving water security

Restoring the thicket ecosystem is a key strategy for water security in the water-stressed region of the Eastern Cape. The intact thicket plays a vital role in capturing, storing and slowly releasing water into the catchment area, thereby helping to ensure a more reliable and sustainable water supply.


The project aims to connect protected areas to support large African wildlife. Spekboom is an ecosystem engineer that facilitates the natural regeneration of a multitude of plant species, creating habitats for wildlife, birds and insects. The rehabilitated areas will be conserved in perpetuity, conservation and ecosystem services being one of its primary goals.

To ensure the highest standards of impact and project progress, independent third-party verifiers will closely monitor and evaluate all the aforementioned impacts. In addition, our team of technology and project experts conducts regular site visits, reaffirming our commitment to maintaining exceptional project quality.