The Pine Tree Project

03 Jun 2019 22:30 #75045 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project
We had a very productive work meet this last weekend. 6 of us attended, and we felled a total of 86 pines, This doesn't sound like a lot, but when you consider that most of the work is with ropes to secure access, and down hugely bushy slopes, I promise you i'ts quite tough work.

Good progress made on the true right upper slopes of Eagle Gorge, Not much left to do between Stable Cave and Makhulumane Gorge on the upper slopes, lower down still to be checked out, Watch this space!!

Again, my thanks to the dedicated Pine Busters for giving up your time and effort..

Again, if you would like to get involved, let me know..

Papa D
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04 Jun 2019 12:30 - 04 Jun 2019 12:44 #75049 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project
Hi Herman

Thanks for your input, and I apologise for taking a while to reply.

I hear exactly what you are saying about it would be easier for some people to make a donation, than to put the time in to do the work, and I understand this completely,. Most of us involved in the pine work at the moment are in the fortunate position that we can take the Friday off, and get to the berg for the weekend to "do our thing". On our meet this weekend past, 6 of us, 1 from Durban, 2 from PMB general area, 2 from Pretoria, one from Joburg. Costs all of us to get there, especially the Vaalies. I take my hat off to them, I'm in KZN.

If we could raise the funds, which I am sure we could with a bit of concerted effort, we would still need someone to drive the project, Co-ordination of teams, data collection, maintenance and management of equipment and resources all become an issue..

Training on rope access work, given to us voluntarily by MCSA KZN Section, and OHS all become an issue if we "subcontract" this. Hearsay has it that subcontractors in the past have felled indigenous trees randomly to claim on the bounty system..
A concerning factor is the difference in size and sexual maturity between the trees that we have cut 2 years ago at 8 years of age, and trees cut now at 10 years of age. The 10 year old trees are far larger i size, and into full reproduction.. and we have found a lot of these 10 year old trees at sites that we have treated, this being the predominant size of trees now, This large number of trees is reaching reproductive age now,

It's going to take a huge effort to completely clear the problem but until then, we can make some difference. We have, within 2 years, cleared the Hospitaalspruit catchment, as far as we know, barring seedlings which might need to be pulled. We have, in another 18 months, made great progress toward clearing the true right bank of Eagle Gorge, at least the upper reaches. Maybe 2 more work meets, and that''s clean. Small area of the Berg, but it's done. So if you hike to the delightful Vaalribbokkop Cave, and go and play in the Hospitaalspruit stream, you shouldn't see a pine. If you do, please pull it out by the roots, because it should be small.. if not smash it with a rock.. that works..

Thanks to the guys and girls who are getting stuck in here. If you can't get physically involved, and would like to help, we do have some gear requirements, so a donation or sponsorship would be most welcome. We are looking into ways of setting this up.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Last edit: 04 Jun 2019 12:44 by Smurfatefrog.
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07 Jun 2019 11:30 - 07 Jun 2019 11:33 #75057 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project

Papa Dragon wrote:
Thanks to the guys and girls who are getting stuck in here. If you can't get physically involved, and would like to help, we do have some gear requirements, so a donation or sponsorship would be most welcome. We are looking into ways of setting this up.


I have organised with Intrepid here from VE, and with the MCSA KZN Section, that should anyone wish to make a donation, this can be paid to MCSA KZN Section's account, with the reference Pine Busters. 

We have done it this way so that it is not paid into one of our private accounts. The funds will be used for gear at this stage, and will be managed by an informal sub-committee consisting of SingleSpeed, who has been very involved with research and the pine tree project, Richard Strickland, Macc and myself.

So if you would like to help out with any donation, no matter how big or small, please pay to:

Mountain Club of South Africa: KZN Section 

Bank: Standard Bank
Account: 051207141
Branch: Musgrave (051001) 
SWIFT: SBZAZAJJ

Reference: Pine Busters (Very important), and your name if you wish
.

My thanks to intrepid and VE, and MCSA KZN Section committee, for facilitating this.

Thanks in advance
Papa D
Last edit: 07 Jun 2019 11:33 by Papa Dragon.
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10 Jun 2019 19:40 #75064 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project
Thank you, anonymous. 

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12 Jun 2019 08:43 #75067 by Herman
Replied by Herman on topic The Pine Tree Project
Awesome, thanks Papa Dragon.
Is there some way to have the details not disappear in the thread - maybe a sticky post / link on the homepage (Intrepid?). A Zapper code would reduce the friction even more, but this is great.
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13 Jun 2019 04:21 #75071 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project

Herman wrote: Awesome, thanks Papa Dragon.
Is there some way to have the details not disappear in the thread - maybe a sticky post / link on the homepage (Intrepid?). A Zapper code would reduce the friction even more, but this is great.

For now I have included the details below the Pine Tree Project banner on the home page. I may change this later again.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
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24 Jun 2019 21:02 - 24 Jun 2019 21:10 #75109 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project
Hi guys

A few things:

Thanks for the donations already received.. still a few things needed that would ease things very much for the team. Like I said above, every bit will help, no matter how large or small, and donations can be made to the MCSA KZN section, as detailed previously.

Next work meet back in the Makhulumane/Jacob's Ladder area, 2 - 4 August. Help needed, and will be appreciated. Drop me a PM if you would be able to attend. As always, work at own pace and capability, and camaraderie exceptional..

A few of us have just done a recreational hike in the Didima Lower berg, there are huge infestations in that area.. We need a concerted effort of some sort to make a difference there. Something to mull over..
Last edit: 24 Jun 2019 21:10 by Papa Dragon.

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30 Jun 2019 19:36 #75122 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project
Our stats so far, for about 3 years:
Only including trees treated in our main work site, Hospitaalspruit, Vaalribbokkop, and Stable cave to Makhulumane Gorge, and some in Eagle Cave area.

Excludes work done on work hikes to other areas, and any trees treated on recreational hikes.

Large trees > 30cm 
45 ringbarked, 13 felled

Medium trees 10-30cm
15 ringbarked, 627 cut

Small trees 2 -10cm
319 cut

Total 1019

Addditionally, about 340 seedlings have been hand-pulled, but this is a low estimate as often there is no accurate count of hand-pulling.

Thanks to singlespeed for this data and to the team for a sterling effort.
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15 Jul 2019 03:53 - 15 Jul 2019 20:33 #75151 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project

Papa Dragon wrote: Hi Herman

Thanks for your input, and I apologise for taking a while to reply.

I hear exactly what you are saying about it would be easier for some people to make a donation, than to put the time in to do the work, and I understand this completely,. Most of us involved in the pine work at the moment are in the fortunate position that we can take the Friday off, and get to the berg for the weekend to "do our thing". On our meet this weekend past, 6 of us, 1 from Durban, 2 from PMB general area, 2 from Pretoria, one from Joburg. Costs all of us to get there, especially the Vaalies. I take my hat off to them, I'm in KZN.

If we could raise the funds, which I am sure we could with a bit of concerted effort, we would still need someone to drive the project, Co-ordination of teams, data collection, maintenance and management of equipment and resources all become an issue..

Training on rope access work, given to us voluntarily by MCSA KZN Section, and OHS all become an issue if we "subcontract" this. Hearsay has it that subcontractors in the past have felled indigenous trees randomly to claim on the bounty system..
A concerning factor is the difference in size and sexual maturity between the trees that we have cut 2 years ago at 8 years of age, and trees cut now at 10 years of age. The 10 year old trees are far larger i size, and into full reproduction.. and we have found a lot of these 10 year old trees at sites that we have treated, this being the predominant size of trees now, This large number of trees is reaching reproductive age now,

It's going to take a huge effort to completely clear the problem but until then, we can make some difference. We have, within 2 years, cleared the Hospitaalspruit catchment, as far as we know, barring seedlings which might need to be pulled. We have, in another 18 months, made great progress toward clearing the true right bank of Eagle Gorge, at least the upper reaches. Maybe 2 more work meets, and that''s clean. Small area of the Berg, but it's done. So if you hike to the delightful Vaalribbokkop Cave, and go and play in the Hospitaalspruit stream, you shouldn't see a pine. If you do, please pull it out by the roots, because it should be small.. if not smash it with a rock.. that works..

Thanks to the guys and girls who are getting stuck in here. If you can't get physically involved, and would like to help, we do have some gear requirements, so a donation or sponsorship would be most welcome. We are looking into ways of setting this up.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Thanks for those comments Herman. I know PapaD already posted a good response, which I wanted to add to. The suggestions you made are good ones and have also been made to me before by others, and it is true that similar models have been successfully employed the MCSA, even for things such as building the trails for Chosspile crag.

The pine tree project evolved from a group of people that wanted to be hands-on with Berg conservation. There was a need and the easiest and quickest response was simply to get out there and start doing it ourselves. From the outset we always tried to maintain an aspect of fun and recreation in the trips that we did, as we believed it was an important balance. Thus many of the trips had elements of a recreational Berg hike. We also found that though the work itself is often tiring, sometimes even extremely tiring, at the same time it is immensely rewarding and fun. It makes you see and experience the Berg in a whole new light. We have always hoped that we could demonstrate that it was possible to do your bit for Berg conservation without it being too much of a burden and that you could enjoy the Berg at the same time. Too much work and no play however can undermine the very passion that stirs you into action in the first place. This is one model, or approach, among several. It works for those of us that have been involved.

Naturally we hope that what we do draws enough attention to the invasive problem so that more gets done about it than just the volunteer work we do, such as what has been suggested. In part this being done already by established conservation initiatives, who use available funding to employ locals in the AmaNgwane and AmaZizi areas to eradicate alien invasives, and I think it would take something of an organisation or a company to run with an initiative like this. It may also make for good publicity for a company if they had to run with it.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 15 Jul 2019 20:33 by intrepid. Reason: typo
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18 Jul 2019 12:31 #75160 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project

Papa Dragon wrote:
Next work meet back in the Makhulumane/Jacob's Ladder area, 2 - 4 August. Help needed, and will be appreciated. Drop me a PM if you would be able to attend. As always, work at own pace and capability, and camaraderie exceptional...


Bumping this back up.. Thanks 

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