Baobab Wilding Project

Planting young baobabs in the wild

The Baobab Wilding project specifically focuses on supporting the recruitment of young baobabs in areas where seedlings are not able to survive due to herbivory from domestic livestock and wildlife. Areas which are affected include rangelands, wildlife areas and communal land. The project grows baobabs in a nurseries until they are strong enough to survive and then plant them into these areas.

Animals and plants survive in a constant cycle of birth, reproduction and death. When one of these goes out of balance, the survival of a population is at risk. Baobab trees live for over 1000 years, so they seem to be an enduring part of our landscape, however unless young trees are added to the population, they will not be around forever.

Seedling's tubers get more space in bigger bags

Why did we start the Baobab Wilding Project?

Young baobabs are very easy to germinate, but difficult to keep alive. Domestic animals such as goats eat the young, baboons pull out the seedlings to eat the roots and wild animals make a meal of the leaves. Young baobabs grow an underground tuber in their first year of growth to mitigate heavy browsing, but if animal numbers are too high, the tuber is unable to supply enough sustenance for their survival.

The baobab wilding project has established nurseries in villages and towns in northern South Africa. These nurseries grow baobabs in bags until they develop a strong root-tuber and until the branches reach above browse height. At this stage, the baobabs will be planted into the wild such as in nature reserves, farms and communal areas. This will add new trees to the population so that it can persist for many more hundreds of years.

Read more about our work on our News Page