Ecofarms have implemented a wide range of environmental management projects and initiatives for their clients to date. Whist there is often a degree of overlap regarding key environmental issues on farms, each farm has unique requirements in terms of priority environmental management activities. We offer practical, hands-on implementation support so that your management team can focus on their core production responsibilities.
Implementation of Environmental Management Plans
EcoFarms support farm management to implement the activities in the environmental management plan. This is either through practical hands-on implementation of by providing technical support to employees delegated to implement management actions.
Facilitation of Environmental Management Progress Meetings
EcoFarms can plan, facilitate and record the outcomes of monthly environmental management meetings which serve to record progress of the implementation of the annual Environmental Management Plan. Being present in these meetings allows us to provide advice and input for decision making and we also capture detailed action-minutes which are reviewed at each meeting.
Staff Environmental Awareness Training
The best Environmental Management Plans can come to naught if managers and employees don’t understand why we need to implement environmental management projects and standard operating procedures. EcoFarms can provide practical, in-field awareness training for all employees on the key aspects of the Environmental Management Plan.
Environmental Education for on-farm youth
Environmental education school holiday programmes are a great way of keeping school children busy during the school holidays, whist at the same time exposing them to fascinating aspects of the natural world and fostering a respect for nature from a young age.
Appointment and management of alien clearing contractors
EcoFarms can draft sound Terms of Reference for the appointment of alien clearing contractors, compile maps of GIS Management Units, conduct in-field site inspections and provide quality control inspections.
Constructed wetlands to prevent pollution of natural watercourses
Ensuring there is no loss in water quality on the farm, through pollution, the accumulation of chemical load and other means, is a high priority objective for most farms. EcoFarms has designed and installed constructed/contained wetlands to treat run-off water from pack houses and chemical rinse stations.
Siltation prevention mechanisms to conserve natural watercourses
An important water quality parameter is the level of siltation or ‘suspended solids’. EcoFarms has installed ‘simulated wetlands’ to slow-down water and trap silt in natural reed beds at points where run-off water enters natural watercourses.
Pesticide & chemical rinse water treatment
The neutralization of environmentally harmful impacts from wastewater containing pesticides, fungicides and herbicides is important for soil and water health on the farm. EcoFarms has adapted successful treatment systems used in Europe for South African conditions and developed compatible chemical rinsing procedures that neutralize the threats from active ingredients in agro-chemical wastewater.
Permits for invasive trees in windrows, bee forage& woodlots
Historically, many windrows in South Africa have been planted with invasive alien trees that are not permitted by the 2014 Alien and Invasive Species Regulations of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act. EcoFarms can assist landowners comply with this Act by ensuring that all windrows containing listed species are mapped, management systems are in place to prevent their spread and the necessary permits are obtained.
Landscaping prominent areas of your farm with indigenous plants makes a beautiful statement about your environmental commitment. EcoFarms can plan and implement landscaping projects that highlight locally indigenous species for educational purposes and incorporate plants that attract natural resident pollinators. We can also implement a ‘search and replace’ initiative where we remove invasive, non-indigenous plants from residential gardens on the farm and replace them with indigenous alternatives.
EcoFarms have project managed and implemented some large-scale restoration projects following dam construction, forestry operations, film sets and sports event locations on farms. Our roles in this regard have included: drawing up prescriptive terms of reference for the appointment civils and re-vegetation experts, managing the appointment of specialist contractors, practical implementation (restoration nursery setup, seed collection, erosion control, propagation, seeding, planting, maintenance), progress monitoring and reporting, engaging with Provincial Government.
Waterless farm toilets
One of the main causes of ground water pollution in agricultural landscapes are old and poorly maintained septic tanks. EcoFarms has facilitated the adoption of waterless farm toilets that save water and prevent biological contamination. Our designs also focus on the human dignity associated with good sanitation facilities and thereby encourage good hygiene practice and enhance food safety on the farm.
In highly transformed agricultural landscapes, with limited remaining natural habitat, it is sometimes necessary to give wildlife a helping hand by providing artificial habitat to encourage species to take up residence on the farm. Examples of constructed habitat includes: owl boxes, bat houses, insect hotels, natural beehives and floating wetlands, etc.). These structures offer inviting alternatives to wildlife and serve a valuable awareness and education tools for people living and working on the farm.
Green socio-economic development
It is important to emphasize the inter-connectedness between humans and nature wherever possible. Our broad background allow us to develop project concepts that meet socio-economic development and environmental management needs simultaneously. Experience in innovation and problem-solving using Design Thinking principles allow us to uncover deeper, fundamental needs and address these in creative and integrated ways.
Contaminated soil remediation station for fuel/oil spills
Minor fuel/oil spills are inevitable on a farm with numerous tractors and other heavy machinery in operation on a daily basis. A relaviely small volume of hydro-carbons spilled on open ground can have a significant environmental impact. A soil remediation station is a contained undercover trough where contaminated soil can be treated with microbes and plants to breakdown chemical bonds in hydrocarbons. Tractor drivers and machine operators should be trained to dig up contaminated soil and place it in the Soil Remediation Station.
Workshop hazardous materials
The materials used to mop up fuel/oil spills as well as most waste from the farm workshop have many hazardous components that need to be appropriately disposed of for health and safety as well as environmental reasons. EcoFarms can assist in many ways to reduce the environmental risks in the workshop, including: workshop layout, bunded oil storage, undercover waste storage, oil separators for storm water from forecourts, spill kits, development of standard operating procedures and training of workshop staff.
Biodiversity Stewardship Protected Area planning
Some farms incorporate large areas of undisturbed natural veld which is of conservation value and can help meet Protected Area Expansion targets for different vegetation types. EcoFarms can advise landowners on the how to formally conserve such areas, facilitate engagement with Provincial Conservation Agencies, draft Protected Area Management Plans and potentially benefit from rates and tax incentives.
Biodiversity off-set planning
Sometimes, even after following the mitigation hierarchy, agricultural development has an unavoidable impact on habitat and biodiversity. In such cases, landowners may be required to implement a biodiversity offset and EcoFarms can advise landowners on the required course of action and use the Biodiversity Stewardship mechanism to secure a suitable offset area.