WESSA’s Ntsubane Living Forest Project receives great recognition at the M&G Greening the Future Awards

WESSA’s Ntsubane Living Forest Project, funded through The Blue Fund and the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund, receives great recognition at the M&G Greening the Future Awards

The 2015 Mail & Guardian ‘Greening the Future Awards’ were held at the Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg in July this year. WESSA, through their project the ‘Ntsubane Living Forest Project’, was nominated in the Community Conservation category where they have focused on bringing about fair and equitable resource benefits to forest user groups, communities and the state.

The project focused on a broad range of activities which all link to the common goals of forest conservation and livelihood support. The elements include forest rehabilitation and protection, as well as detailed work with the local crafters to ensure sustainable harvesting and efficient use of resources. The work carried out with funding by The Blue Fund aimed to strengthen the forest users association and ensure that communities hold the incentives to protect their resources. This work linked directly to that carried out through the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF), which WESSA carried out to ensure effective rehabilitation and protection of the Ntsubane Forest Complex, the largest indigenous forest ecosystem in the Pondoland region of the Eastern Cape.

The project was elected as the runner up in the Community Conservation category. ‘This clearly highlights the importance of the work being carried out through these funding programmes as well as the amazing dedication which WESSA has put into critical ecosystems and communities’, commented Mark Gerrard, Conservation Grants Manager for Wildlands. ‘We are extremely excited about this award and it gives us great confidence that our work to build capabilities for co-management and sustainable resource utilization of forest resources is being recognised’ said Mike Denison, Biodiversity Programme Manager for WESSA.