101 trees planted on Robben Island for Madiba - 9,899 still to come
A hundred and one indigenous trees were planted on Robben Island on Wednesday in celebration of late former president Nelson Mandela's 101st birthday this year.
Konica Minolta South Africa and non-profit organisation Food & Trees For Africa (FTFA) planted the trees as part of the Robben Island Museum’s revegetation programme, which aims to plant 10,000 trees over the next five years. The planting also coincided with national Arbor Month.
“Over the past 300 years, Robben Island’s landscape has been extensively modified as exotic shrubs and trees have been introduced,” said Morongoa Ramaboa, spokesperson for the Robben Island Museum.
“We aim to plant more than 10,000 indigenous trees over the next five years, creating a sustainable habitat that can also be home to seabirds, especially endangered African penguins and other species that form part of the island’s landscape,” she said.
According to the museum, Robben Island hosts a "sensitive" coastal ecosystem with many indigenous bird species.
"As such, planting indigenous trees will help to support the natural ecosystem functions and help the many species to stabilise and thrive on the island,” said Ramaboa.
“Robben Island is one of only 10 World Heritage Sites in South Africa and we’ve just been declared a marine protected area. Therefore there is a growing conservation need for the island."
Konica Minolta SA chief executive Marc Pillay said: “We’re proud to contribute to South Africa’s natural and historical heritage.
“Our partnership with Food & Trees For Africa has been going for 11 years and has enriched community spaces while helping to offset carbon emissions and better the environment. We’re committed to returning to Robben Island to continue this work in the future, facilitated by our partner Food & Trees For Africa."
The museum is calling on other organisations to help plant 9,899 more trees in support of the island’s environmental needs.