The Pine Tree Project
Our next scheduled pine eradication hike will be on the 31 May, to 2nd June.
Work will be in the Stable Cave/Makhulumane area, where we are making good progress.
As always, work is at you own pace, with no pressure..
Safe parking arranged at Drak Gardens hotel.
If you would like to be involved and give something back to our beautiful 'Berg, please contact me..
Looking forward to hearing from you
intrepid wrote: Thanks for posting Dave.
The ones in the Hlatikhulu/Sterkspruit are a pretty bad infestation, with some substantial, dense clusters. As VE we only did a little bit of work on those, in a small area which we called "Hlatikhulu South Slope" ...
Thanks for the background, Intrepid. I did recall that work had been done in the upper Mhlwazini; there is still a large dead pine amongst the juveniles.
I noticed that two lone pines on one of the western Hlatikhulu south slopes (not pictured) have been ring-barked, but the dense clusters look untouched. These are on quite steep slopes, so access is difficult, but the clusters beneath Sterkhorn are easier. I'll bear these in mind for the next time I'm in the area.
Thanks to everyone helping with this - as soon as I can, I will join you!
"The three rules of mountaineering: It’s always further, taller and harder than it looks."
With a few more teams to tackle some of the other areas, I know we can and will get on top of this problem. Please consider volunteering, totally at your own pace. We try to do 4 work hikes per year, but even if someone saw fit to to take 1 more hike in a different area, that would be a great start.
We all get something out of our 'Berg. let's put something back.
Our Pine Busters whatsapp group has 23 member, some of whom have not been on a work hike, obviously due to circumstance. That's far less tha 1% of the membership of this forum, by a way (+-3200 members). We usually have 8 to 10 hikers/workers on a work hike... imagine if just 7% of this forum's membership got involved. We would clear, not just contain, this problem pretty quickly.
Kudos to the likes of diverian and Wendywoo, Richard S, and Dave, who incorporate their eradication work with leisure time, I'm sure there are others too.. thanks guys..
Think about it..
Herman wrote: I recently learned that Working for Water has a Land User Incentive fund that can be used to pay contractors to do the work, since they don't have enough teams. I'm going to find out about it for the Magalies (where we also do a lot of work on invasives). My experience with WfW and contractors is not very positive, but under supervision it may help; girdling pine is relatively easy to check. If the funds are accessible, we must use it in the Drakensberg as well. If someone else has experience with applying for that funding, please let me know.
Please keep us posted on any info you get
I agree completely that if you want to enjoy the mountains, you should take some responsibility for conserving them, and it is often frustrating to the ones that do so that they are so few. That said, practically speaking we see only slightly better figures than those mentioned here, for the MCSA in the Magalies. But members have been willing to give money to get it done, and that has proven very effective, as well as giving gainful employment to some great people. Not first prize, because then members have an excuse to be complacent. But we achieve the result and help some people in the process.
What I'm driving at is this: too few people are going to go out to check the pine in the Berg, whether we like it or not. But more people would be willing to donate money to a fund (e.g. on ADDaBIT). The WfW fund would be a bonus, but the chances are slim. If we put a "bounty" on every pine verified as girdled - say R50 for large ones and R20 for small ones, then I'm pretty sure the easy ones and large stands will be eradicated fairly quickly by local people, leaving us to do the rest. It costs me about R1000 to get to the Berg and back. I'm willing to donate at least the cost of 1 Berg trip per year, and maybe some others are as well. If we situate the fund in the right way it can also be tax deductible and count towards BEE points etc, making it an attractive CSR proposition for companies. But that would be more paperwork.