ReSpek Nature NPC is a registered NPO in South Africa. We launched ReSpek Nature in late 2020 as a dedicated spekboom-only carbon offset programme to support projects across the Karoo.
ReSpek Nature supports multiple projects across the Karoo, one of which is the Giant Flag, which is on the outskirts of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape Karoo, South Africa. Another is Jobs 4 Carbon near Carlistzdorp in the Western Cape. We have hectares of land to restore. This means that we have some hundreds of thousands of spekboom that can be planted out on that land. Having said that, we have one atmosphere enveloping the planet, so capturing carbon can happen anywhere on Earth.
We’ve made things pretty simple by adding a universal counter that sits in the logo of the website, so that anyone can see moment by moment updates of our spekboom uptake.
ReSpek is working on the ground with the Jobs 4 Carbon team who work from a nursery in Vanwyksdorp. We also collaborate with GCBR who have a staff of advisors of botonists and environmentalists who ensure we are doing the best job possible. We receive botanical guidance from the Rhodes Restoration Research Group out of Grahamstown, who are expertly advising us and SANParks on specific planting approaches.
We take cutting from intact thicket that is close to where we want to plant. The cuttings are rooted for several months in the nursery where they can get plently of water and develop good strong roots. During the summer months our teams are out on site digging and preparing the wholes for planting and once winter comes and tempratures are cooler the take the rooted cuttings and plant them and the plants get their only watering out in the field. The only water the spekboom receives thereafter is from rain.
The average measurement is 4kg Carbon/year per single spekboom, when the plant is very small it is much less. We plant at a density of roughly 2500 plants per hectare, so we consider them more like an expanding ecosystem rather than a single plant. Our ideal measurement is on a scale is about 10 carbon tonnes per hectare, per year. That’s something like driving between Jo’burg and Cape Town 25 times!
Good question! While spekboom is mostly recognised for its capacity as a carbon sponge, it also restores the indigenous thicket. This simultaneously combats erosion and grows out as a protective ground-cover. It reintroduces nutrients to the soil and locks water into its stems and leaves, and so combats drought. One of the most beautiful things about this miracle plant is that it encourages biodiversity by preparing the soil for other species, and when it’s large enough, giving shade too. It’s also considered a source of food for some animals, and what’s interesting about this is that when the spekboom is ‘disturbed’ by animals eating some of it, it grows back… and so sequesters more carbon.
We’re trying to get each GPS coordinate as close as possible to each linked plant, but for now you can be sure that it’s at least within one hectare of the locations on your certificates.