The Pine Tree Project

05 Apr 2010 21:56 #1061 by BergAttie
BergAttie created the topic: The Pine Tree Project
I did a quick (less than 24hr) solo overnight hike in the Cathedral area this past Saturday/Sunday - needed to use the time available!

I was quite shocked to see the state of the Xeni, Tsekeseke and Umhlambonja valleys in terms of the number of pine trees growing on the slopes of the valleys and lower stretches of the Pyramid, Elephant and Mount Helga. Some of the trees are fully grown and definetly spreading seeds already. I have not been in this area for quite some time but it seems as though nothing has happened here ito alien tree erradication for quite some time.

I searched the Forum for posts on this but couldn't find anything. Does anybody know if this has been raised with EKZNW? Are there existing pressure/lobby/volunteer groups regadring this topic? I will try and contact the relevant people at EKZNW as well but wondered if anybody here has some existing strcutures/discussions going?

IF this is not acted on we are facing a pine planataion on The little Berg in the not too distant future.

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07 Apr 2010 01:32 #1073 by domsmooth
domsmooth replied to: The Pine Tree Project
@ BergAttie.

I will take it up with our alien invasive co-ordinator, when I am back in my office on Fri. The amount of aliens encroaching into the UDP has worried me increasingly. One only has to drive up Sani to see the extent of it. Unfortunately, the majority of the issue is that there are private landowners within the bounds of the UDP who are often responsible for the seedbank which continues the issue.

The other issue is that some contractors get Pines mixed up with Yellowwoods, but I think EKZNW have sorted that out, last I spoke to our alien invasive co-ordinator. I think that we also need to remember that although EKZNW are the de-facto authority designated to manage the UDP-WHS, the alien invasion in other more tropical areas is of a much greater concern as they manage to spread so much quicker within 1 year than in a more temperate area such as the Berg. Hence, most of the budget is spent on coastal reserves (EKZNW has close on 100 reserves proclaimed as protected areas), and we rely heavily on grants from "working for water" etc to clear aliens from midlands areas.

Again, as I said though, I will take this up with the alien invasive co-ordinator and feedback here.

Lets all help maintain the values for which the Berg was proclaimed a World Heritage Site

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07 Apr 2010 01:34 #1074 by domsmooth
domsmooth replied to: The Pine Tree Project
Ps, Attie, some gps co-ordinates would be massively helpful... PM me them if you have your route.

Lets all help maintain the values for which the Berg was proclaimed a World Heritage Site

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07 Apr 2010 08:06 #1076 by BergAttie
BergAttie replied to: The Pine Tree Project
Unfortunately I have no GPS co-ords.There is however plenty within view of the Contour path between Teske-Tseke and Xeni/Cockade, down the Tseke-tseke, Xeni and Mhlambinja valleys.

Thanks for the help.

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07 Apr 2010 21:08 #1085 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: The Pine Tree Project
Interesting that you should raise this BergAttie - this problem has troubled me for a long time. I have taken it up with contacts at EKZNW before. It seems they are short of resources and staff. They actually suggested that I learn from them how to effectively ringbark and kill the trees so that I go out and do my bit too - haven't gotten further on this, but the idea hasn't left me. There are a shocking amount of pines on Thuthumi Pass too, as well as near Schoongezicht Cave, and around Intunja.

An idea I have to organise a hike sometime, which is open for volunteers to join, with the aim to go and sort out some of the trees.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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07 Apr 2010 21:32 #1086 by BergAttie
BergAttie replied to: The Pine Tree Project
It'sbeen bugging me for a long time as well - the longer it is left the worse its gonna get - its real easy to ringbark these trees. I'm in and available on relatively short notice due to my proximity to the Berg. Would be nice to give something back.

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09 Apr 2010 11:27 #1110 by tiska
tiska replied to: The Pine Tree Project
A brief comment on the pines in Cathedral Peak. Going back to the 1950s, an area of about 100 ha was aforested with pine (pinus patula) in the catchment just beyond Mike's Pass. The streamflow was monitored and by the 1970s, the flow had reduced considerably as the trees had reached maturity and were transpiring a lot of water. The forest idea was abondoned because of the negative impact on the water resources and the trees progressively removed from the 1980s or so. I'd guess the remaining distant pines stem from the 4 decades of pine forest. I find it surprising that there aren't even more pines in the areas reported by BergAttie. I wonder how agressively they spread? Not that I am advocating leaving them there.

There was also a large area of trees near where the golf course is at CP (can't remember if these were pines).

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09 Apr 2010 11:49 - 24 May 2013 08:05 #1112 by intrepid
intrepid replied to: The Pine Tree Project
Lets keep this idea going then. Dom, also await your feedback from the alien invasive co-ordinator - can you bounce the idea of us doing it on a volunteer basis on them too, and get guidelines from them about effective ringbarking and/or poisoning?

@mnt_tiska: yep these pines must be the remnant of the forestry days. The rehabilitated areas are still struggling - see pic near Thuthumi lookout hut below:



Thankfully a lot of pines have been cut down, like the ones at the CP golf course, and around Monks Cowl camp.

Pics below of the pines on Thuthumi and Ndedema. Anyone else that has pics and/or GPS co-ordinates of alien growth, please post it here.








Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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Last Edit: 24 May 2013 08:05 by intrepid.

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09 Apr 2010 11:54 #1113 by BergAttie
BergAttie replied to: The Pine Tree Project
The area where the Gof course is now was Black Wattle mostly. Pine trees don't spread as agressivley as for instance wattle and blue gum - especially in colder environments. Pince seeds can be distributed over large distances though due to their winged seeds. There are large Sappi plantations about 30km's from Cathedral as teh crow flies - these will constantly seed the area. Once they have taken hold it is a problem - the longer it is left the more work and money to get rid of them. Pince

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09 Apr 2010 13:22 #1114 by Stijn
Stijn replied to: The Pine Tree Project
Hey - I love the idea of a VE pine hack! As BergAttie says, it would be a great way to give something back and an excellent excuse to meet up and explore the little berg some more :)

Agreed on that we should co-ordinate with the current EKZNW initiatives and ensure the proper techniques are used. Keep us posted - I'm in B)

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