August 05, 2021

The 3rd 10 000 trees target reached

Our third 10 000 tree target has been reached in a little under 2 months, and thanks very much to all who contributed. For this round, a particular thanks to farmers in the Ladismith area for volunteering to sponsor some temporary workers to help join the effort. Their very welcome three-day contribution made a significant impact.

For the next 10 000 trees let’s not waste any time and get out there for some more socially-distanced fun and action!

Posted on August 05, 2021 08:31 by donovank donovank | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 31, 2021

The 2nd 10 000 trees target reached

Our second 10 000 tree target has been reached, and thanks to all who contributed!

Although taking over a year (who could have predicted how 2020 was to turn out), we have finally reached our next milestone, and it is encouraging that hacking activity has recently picked up. Approximately 70 different individuals participated in the clearing of the latest 10 000 trees, over 100 hectares in total was cleared and this took place at more than 15 different locations, with at least three of these being challenging to access. It was also great to have the participation of three different groups involved with the youth: SCOUTS South Africa, Net vir Pret - Project Hope and IALA gap year programme.

The next 10 000 trees now awaits us. So let’s get out there for some socially-distanced fun and action!

Posted on May 31, 2021 09:59 by donovank donovank | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 05, 2020

Our first 10 000 tree target has been reached!.....and now for the next 10 000

A brief summary of the achievements of the challenge:

The target of 10 000 trees was reached in 3 months (October to December 2019)
Approximately 3500 mature plants and 6500 seedlings/saplings were cleared
Approximately 40 different individuals participated in the clearing
Clearing took place at 8 different locations, two of which were challenging to access (each requiring about 3 hours of mountain walking to access)

Thanks to all who contributed!

Target for the next Challenge:

10 000 trees are cleared in 2 months, and at least three locations are included which are challenging to access

Posted on January 05, 2020 04:35 by donovank donovank | 1 comment | Leave a comment

October 17, 2019

The Elandsberg one-hectare Hakea Challenge

The Elandsberg one-hectare Hakea Challenge

Where: Assemble and start at the Oom Stan se Liggie car park.
When: Saturday 09 Nov 2019. 06h00: signing of indemnity forms & briefing. 06h30: starting time.
Cost: free
R.s.v.p. by 1 November: Donovan Kotze (kotzed@ukzn.ac.za or 0823022228)

What is required? long-sleeved shirt and long pants to protect against prickly hakea, gloves, hiking shoes, sunhat and at least 2.5 litres of water and a hand saw. Pruning saws work well, and if you do not have a saw then Klein Karoo Agri supply an excellent Agricut pull saw for about R200. The benefits for participants:
• An excellent team building exercise for the individual teams
• Build individual fitness and health
• Contribute positively to the environment and to Ladismith’s water supply – hakeas increase water use and therefore are reducing water supplied to Ladismith and surrounding farms

How the event will be run: The teams of three will walk at their own pace the approximately 4 km up the mountain on the Oom Stan se Liggie path, but with the last 400 m being off the path on fairly rough terrain but not very steep. The overall infested area would already have been divided up into several designated areas, with each being estimated to take a team of 3 people 2 hours to clear. As the teams arrive at the overall site, they would select which designated area they wished to clear, with the first team arriving obviously having the greatest choice. The first team to complete the clearing of their area would be the winners. But the designated areas would be inspected and the team would be penalized 3 minutes for every tree found which had been cut with leafy branches remaining (which would likely re-sprout in the future) or any tree which had been missed. We anticipate that the first 1 or 2 teams will complete cutting down all the trees in their selected area by 10h30 and they could then assist the slowest team/s finishing off their selected area, so that the overall area would be completed by about 11h30. We would all then walk down to be back in Ladismith by lunch time.

The concept! teams of 3 people walk for four kilometres up a hiking trail on the beautiful Elandsberg mountain to an area which is fairly densely infested with invasive alien hakea trees and the teams collectively clear at least 1 hectare of hakea. Those teams wishing to be competitive can aim to walk and clear their selected area as quickly as possible without missing any trees or branches which could re-sprout. However, if some teams chose to clear their selected area at a slow pace then that would be absolutely fine.

Posted on October 17, 2019 06:33 by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 0 comments | Leave a comment

The urgent need for local action to control invasive alien trees in the Mountain Catchment Areas supplying water to the Ladismith area

The urgent need for local action to control invasive alien trees in the Mountain Catchment Areas supplying water to the Ladismith area

Donovan Kotze, 15 October 2019

One of the greatest threats to key water resource areas in the Mountain Catchment Areas of the Western Cape are invasive alien trees1. Dense infestations of hakea and pine trees generally result in more than a 10% increase in water loss to the atmosphere2, and thus if these trees are not controlled then this will result in a reduction in yield of many millions of liters of water, with potentially severe impacts on the businesses and farms which depend on this water, especially during droughts. This has particular relevance to Ladismith and the surrounding farms, with almost all of our water supplied by the Klein Swartberg Mountains.

A few years back, Cape Nature were actively clearing in the mountains above Ladismith, but they are now faced with shrinking resources to carry this out, and have done almost no clearing here in the last few years. Therefore, local action is desperately required. Over the last 15 months, three volunteers (myself, Hugh Sussen and Samantha Adey) have been clearing of invasive alien tress once or twice a month. Over these 15 months, we have systematically covered over 1 500 ha of mainly sparsely infested areas and have cut down more than 4000 trees. However, if we are going to win the battle then several more local volunteers are needed, particularly to help with some of the more densely infested areas which remain.
One of the areas (about 15 ha in size) densely infested with hakea in the catchment of Waterkloof which supplies Ladismith town

If we fail to act now then the problem will soon become much more expensive to deal with in the future and droughts which are already impacting upon local families and businesses will become a greater risk. Thus, it makes good business sense for local farmers and businesses such as Ladismith Cheese and Parmalat to contribute now to controlling invasive alien trees in our precious water source areas and so contribute positively to a more water-secure future for all of Ladismith and its businesses.

Cutting down hakeas and pine trees is hard work, but it is great exercise and very rewarding! And so, by participating in clearing, one is also contributing to one’s own health and personal fulfilment.

1 Cousins S, Singels E, and Kraaij T, 2018. Invasive alien plants in South Africa pose huge risks, but they can be stopped [online]. http://theconversation.com/invasive-alien-plants-in-south-africa-pose-huge-risks-but-they-can-be-stopped-94186
Richardson D M and vanWilgen B W, 2004. Invasive alien plants in South Africa: how well do we understand the ecological impacts? S. Afr. J. Sci. 100, 45–52.
2 Görgens A and Howard G, 2016. The impacts of different degrees of alien plant invasion on yields from the Western Cape water supply system: Final Report Document produced for CSIR. Aurecon, Cape Town.

Posted on October 17, 2019 06:29 by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 19, 2019

The Ten Thousand Tree Mountain Fynbos Challenge

Welcome to the Ten Thousand Tree Mountain Fynbos Challenge.

Our goal is to clear 10 000 trees in a month.

Let us see if we can do it in October 2019.

Simply clear your area, and add an observation for each species that you cleared, adding this project and specifying how many trees you cleared. Pines, Wattles, Hakeas and other alien tree species apply: no matter how big they were when removed (seedlings, juveniles or giants).

Any other information will be welcome, either in the description or notes. Add some photos of your team in action (or recovering afterwards).

Posted on September 19, 2019 09:05 by tonyrebelo tonyrebelo | 0 comments | Leave a comment