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Habitat Restoration

Turning a Negative for People and Cheetah into a Win-Win

Namibia’s savannah is currently infested by thorn bush, covering an estimated 10 – 12 million hectares representing 12 – 14 per cent of the land. The infestation by this indigenous species is the result of a complex interaction between cattle farming, fire suppression policies, and weather. Unfortunately, once bush takes hold and displaces grass cover, its root system develops and gains a competitive advantage for water, preventing the grass’s return. When the acacia thorn bush encroaches, it can cause land to lose up to 100 per cent of its productivity and usefulness. The resulting dense thickets of bush prevent farmers from using the land and disrupt the natural habitat of the Namibian ecosystem.

The invasive thorn bush is also known to adversely affect the cheetah by decreasing the cheetah’s line of vision during hunting and limiting the proliferation of prey.

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Eye injury from chasing prey due to thorn-bushes

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Thorn-bushes

The Cheetah Conservation Fund, working to ensure the cheetah’s survival, began research and campaigning to restore the cheetah habitat by demonstrating the value in harvesting the thorn bush as a source of biomass to energy. Three years of research were conducted and ultimately lead to the creation of CCF Bushblok operation.  This plant is used as a demonstration to illustrate the business opportunity in processing the encroaching bush into high-heat, low-emission, compacted logs for use as a cooking fuel or for home heating.  The thorn bush harvested comes from CCF land and surrounding communal farms.

CCF has demonstrated that restoring the habitat for cheetah and wildlife in general through harvesting thorn bush can have a positive impact on the Namibian economy and local communities.  

For more information about Namibia Biomass to Energy potential click here.

CCF Bush (PTY) Ltd

 

CCF Bush (PTY) Ltd. was established in 2004 to manufacture the Bushblok product.  It is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for the sustainability of its woodland management practices. The harvested bush is dried in the sun and then fed into a mechanical chipper before being transported to the processing plant where the chips are milled to size. These smaller chips are dried and then passed through an extrusion press. Under heat and pressure the chips bond and are extruded as compacted Bushblok product, and then cut to size, bundled, wrapped and labeled ready for distribution.

For more information on the Bushblok initiative visit: About Bushblok

 

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