By Tamarin Davids, Groen Sebenza intern

Today is World Environment Day and this year’s theme is all about restoration. Did you know that Nature Connect is actively restoring areas of important vegetation around Cape Town? Four of these key areas are:

· Kenilworth Racecourse Conservation Area

· Milnerton Racecourse Section, Table Bay Nature Reserve

· Zoarvlei Section, Table Bay Nature Reserve

· Muizenberg East Biodiversity Cluster

Why are these areas so special to us in South Africa? The Kenilworth area is home to vital and threatened fynbos vegetation, the critically endangered Cape Flats sand fynbos. This site it believed to host the highest number of rare and endemic plants in the world for an urban area of that size not to mention, threatened endemic animal species found nowhere else in the world.

The Milnerton Racecourse Section of the Table Bay Nature Reserve contains 333 plant species, of which 34 are Red Data species, plus the area is home to a small population of grysbok. And while the Zoarvlei section has comparatively fewer plants at 87 species, the area has been substantially transformed; it’s important ecologically and requires a great deal of restoration.

In the Muizenberg Biodiversity Cluster you’ll find another endangered vegetation type, Cape Flats Dune Strandveld, that contains its own suite of critically endangered flora and fauna. Excitingly, there seems to be enough connectivity between these Muizenberg sites through natural vegetation corridors to allow for the movement of game – camera traps have shown Cape grysbok, porcupine, small spotted genet, water mongoose and cape spurfowl.

At a local level, this restoration work is crucial for conserving biodiversity, enhancing climate resilience, and providing essential ecosystem services like clean water and air purification. And on a global level, World Environment Day is a way to draw people together to take action for the environment and address critical issues like climate change, pollution, deforestation and biodiversity loss. Over 100 countries celebrate the day, so we can play our part and make a significant impact on our environment and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.