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LARSSA 6th Annual Conference - "Transforming the Rehabilitation Landscape"


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The LaRSSA conference aims to bring together key industry, governmental and academic land practitioners, all of whom have valuable insight into and contributions to make to the land rehabilitation discipline in Southern Africa.

The LaRSSA 6th Annual Conference will be held at Champagne Sports Resort in the majestic Drakensberg, Champagne Valley.  The pre-conference workshop will focus on "Conservation Agriculture" and will be facilitated by Dr Wayne Truter, University of Pretoria and Erna Kruger (Mahlathini Development Foundation).  It will offer both theory and practice and offering a site visit to one of the No Till farms in the area.  The two days of conference proceedings will include internationally renowned keynote and plenary speakers, as well as industry leads on pertinent theme topics. These include Dr Hugh Pringle (Ecosystem Management Understanding) from Perth, Australia, Dave Pepler (Environmentalist and TV personality), Nicolette Forbes (MER), Georgina Avlonitis (Greenpop), Tanya Smith (Endangered Wildlife Trust), Nick Booth (Corobrick). It will also be packed with presentations of case-studies and/or research projects focusing on our theme.

Conference Proceedings

Conference Presenters

Georgina Avlonitis

Plenary Speaker

"The power of civic lead greening and reforestation interventions through facilitated connection and celebration"

After finishing up her Master’s degree in urban ecology from the University of Cape Town in 2009, Georgina gained professional experience working in the fields of biodiversity planning, biodiversity informatics and ecosystem based adaptation at ICLEI’s Cities Biodiversity Center with project experience in Taiwan, South Korea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa. Georgina joined the Greenpop team in 2017 as their Head of Programmes where she oversees their reforestation, urban greening and community-based project work in Southern Africa. Georgina is passionate about the power of civic-lead greening interventions in increasing ecosystem services and ecological connectivity - inspiring and connecting the public to the incredible biosphere of which they are a part. 

Erna Kruger

Pre-Conference Workshop Facilitator

"The potential for Conservation Agriculture to build soil health in a smallholder farming environment"

Erna Kruger has been working in rural development since her graduation with an MSc in Plant Pathology in 1990.

She started Mahlathini Development Foundation in 2003, a Non Government Organisation dedicated to the promotion and implementation of sustainable agricultural practices in the smallholder landscape.

The organisation specialises in support for smallholder farmers that includes a value chain approach, microfinance solutions and pro-poor implementation of sustainable land management practices including conservation agriculture, intensive organic food production, soil and water conservation and rainwater harvesting, erosion control and rangeland management.

We follow an acton research approach and combine mentoring and learning into a participatory innovation development learning system. Within this system farmers and facilitators jointly tackle experimentation, learning and implementation to carefully assess and monitor best practice options within a given field.

Dave Pepler

Dave is best known for his role as the presenter of the popular environmental TV programme “Groen” on "KYKNET". However, the breadth of his involvement in environmental matters is quite staggering extending as it does from the development of best management practices for the Chilean Forestry Industry through to environmental impact assessments both locally as well as elsewhere in Africa. In addition to his visibility in the electronic media, he is the author or co-author of more than 160 popular and semi-popular articles, and 200 popular lectures, press releases, and radio interviews through which he has effectively raised public awareness of the importance of preserving biodiversity, and the social implications of humankind’s stewardship of protected areas. He is currently the preeminent naturalist in South Africa.