This strikes me as a great way to do a little good, learn something and to connect with the local community and the environment in honour of Mandela Day: spending a Sunday morning pulling out invasive species on the slopes of Table Mountain.
From Deer Park Community Facebook page:
Come do your ‘67-plus’ minutes taking out 67 invasive plants!
After the fire over a year ago, there are plenty of Wattle, Gum, Stink bean and etc growing fast and competing with the indigenous vegetation for precious resources.
Some plants are quite big already and will require sawing … If you are keen to do lighter work, there are zillions of seedlings to pull.
Volunteers should wear decent shoes, protective clothing and gardening gloves. Also, bring hand saws, shears, trowels, blunt-nosed pliers, bigger garden fork/spades etc. There will be limited equipment there to borrow. WhatsAPP numbers on the flyer for more details:
A little background from SanParks on clearing of alien plant species on Table Mountain:
“One of the biggest threats to the biodiversity of the Table Mountain National Park is the presence of alien invasive plant species. In particular, adult, woody seed-bearing alien invasive plants such as Port Jackson, Rooikrans, Wattle, Hakea, Pine and Blue Gum.
These trees have several negative impacts on the fynbos ecosystem:
- They impact negatively on the hydrology of an area by using up precious water supplies and interfering with waterways.
- They destabilise river banks.
- They are vigorous growers and out-compete indigenous species by occupying spaces where indigenous species would thrive.
- They destroy the balance of habitats and therefore impact negatively on indigenous fauna.
- In some cases their seeds lie dormant for 70-100 years, resulting in continuous and dense re-growth
- They are very flammable and cause frequent and very hot fires.
Alien clearing is a core part of TMNP’s biodiversity management. The alien-clearing programme is undertaken in partnership between TMNP and Working for Water, an Expanded Public Works Programme implemented by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, which employs between 300 and 350 people from surrounding communities to work in the park.
Other alien-clearing initiatives are being undertaken in the indigenous Afromontane forests. There are around 360 alien plants in Newlands Forest alone, most of them invasive. These aliens are garden escapees such as Chinese Privet and Eugenia and pose a real threat to the natural diversity of the forests.
The Milling Project is a small project, based in Tokai, falling within the Working for Water Programme. Alien tree species, such as gum trees, are being milled into planks to be used by SanParks for repairing and building new boardwalks, bird hides, etc.
The aim is to promote a culture of “reduce, re-use, recycle” whilst at the same time reducing fire risks on the mountain slopes. The most important objective, SanParks says, is the relief of poverty and the development of communities through job creation. We at Call Off The Search love to hear of projects that restore and protect our natural environment, but it is always great to hear that people are being prioritised too.
After felling and de-branching the trees, the branches are stacked for prescribed burning. The excess material that is left over after milling the logs is used for firewood and the sawdust can be used by the horse stables nearby as bedding for the horses.