Drones are being used to help save the critically endangered Clanwilliam cedar in the Western Cape

Not too far in the future, a specialised tree-planting drone will fly over the rugged mountains of the Cederberg in the Western Cape, firing seedpods into the ground with precision to help give the region’s namesake — the rare Clanwilliam cedar tree — a fighting chance of survival.  

The ancient Clanwilliam cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) is only found in the Cederberg. In 2013, it was listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Plants. 

The long-lived species is on the brink of extinction after decades of unsustainable harvesting for their “beautiful, long-lasting, fragrant timber” and from frequent veld fires, according to the South African National Biodiversity Institute. Only an estimated 13 000 individual trees remain in the wild.

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The post Drones are being used to help save the critically endangered Clanwilliam cedar in the Western Cape appeared first on The Mail & Guardian.

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