Daniëlle Cronjé

MA Student


Project title: The “Miraculous Spekboom:” An ethnographic study on contemporary conservation initiatives in the Karoo.

With the rise of climate change awareness, there has been a newfound urgency to reduce the carbon footprints left on the planet. One phenomenon that has gained momentum is the concept of “miracle plants” (also known as “wonder plants”). Within the South African context, the spekboom (Portulacaria Afra) was coined as such due to its multi-beneficial properties. One of which is its high sequestration properties.

By conducting an ethnographic study on spekboom conservation programs in the Karoo, this thesis seeks to examine contemporary approaches to conservation in South Africa and the possibility of spekbooms as conservation agents in the Karoo. It hopes to contribute to debates around intersectional conservation initiatives and the potential of “integrated sustainable development” endeavours.

Keywords: contemporary conservation approaches, spekboom replantings in the Karoo, sustainable development.