The Cederberg Conservancy are the proud custodians of the Clanwilliam cedar tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis). The endemic Clanwilliam cedar, which was formerly more numerous, is now threatened with survival due to several centuries of exploitative harvesting and frequent fires.
Large numbers of cedar trees were felled as the wood was in great demand for construction, some 7 200 trees were used as telephone poles between Piketberg and Calvinia.
In 1967 the removal of dead cedar trees was halted, and all other forms of exploitation ended in 1973 with the proclamation of Cederberg Wilderness.
A programme started in 1987 by CapeNature aimed to restore the status of the tree by planting out nursery-grown seedlings into its natural habitat in the Cederberg mountains. Since then many thousands of seedlings have been planted out in fire-protected, rocky sites.
In 2003 a nursery was established at Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve in collaboration with the Botanical Society, CapeNature and the Cederberg Conservancy.
Annual cedar-planting events during May and June are part of the ongoing attempts to secure the cedar's existence for future generations to enjoy.
Visit our Facebook page for news on upcoming events.