The Pine Tree Project

18 Jul 2013 07:06 #57755 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic The Pine Tree Project
Here is a pic of us climbing up the firebreak to the lookout hut in April 1976. It complements Tony's second to last picture. There are also pine trees behind me. It shows why it is called the firebreak, and was absolutely necessary in those days. That is Fran Godbold standing alone in the centre of the picture, Brian Godbold's daughter. Check the bell-bottoms and cool rucksacks.


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23 Jul 2013 06:53 #57778 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic The Pine Tree Project
Really enjoying seeing these historical images.

Perhaps we should start it's own thread - Berg images of Yesteryear.
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23 Jul 2013 07:16 #57779 by HFc
Replied by HFc on topic The Pine Tree Project
A general question w.r.t. the Pine Tree problems in the Berg.

Is this endeavor (Pine Tree project, Working For Water project etc) a purely South African endeavor or is Lesotho involved as well (given that water is such a major part of their GDP)?

Reason for asking is that I am trying to understand why large Pine Tree Plantations are tolerated on the Lesotho side of major rivers.

Below is a picture of a very large Pine Tree Plantation below the Mafatle Ridge near the source of the Caledon.



This plantation is about 6km WNW of the upper most source of the Caledon river, but is in fact situated on a secondary river source itself. I am no botanist, but surely this must mean that the river is contaminated with Pine seeds etc, leading to the sprouting of Pine Trees all along the river drainage area, in itself the very problem we are trying to address.

Off course we need to be sensitive to the needs of the local population. This plantation is situated close to Lesotho Village of Monantsa, I will assume they utilize this as a fuel/energy source, perhaps even commercial. Still, I for one would like to know how this can impact on the Pine infestation problems we are facing in RSA. The Caledon is after all a shared resource (being on the border), and some form of collaboration should exist between the two countries?

Would like to hear your thoughts on the matter guys.

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24 Jul 2013 18:14 - 24 Jul 2013 18:16 #57810 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
Your point is valid, Highlands Fanatic, those pines will be causing contamination to areas further away.

I did a hike which involved cutting across the Caledon Valley once and we walked through a decent pine forest, possibly the one in the picture. There were tracks (caused by dragging tree trunks) leading from the forest to the sandstone cliffs with a village below it. It was very evident that the locals cut down the trees, drag them to the cliffs where they are thrown down and collected below. So they do use the trees, which is a good thing in one sense cause they then keep the numbers under control. Ideally they should have genetically modified trees for their plantations so that the trees cannot reproduce. I understand this is the case with some of the plantations in South Africa. But I think we are along way off with this kind of thing in Lesotho.

I'm not sure how far Lesotho is in terms of seriously trying to control alien vegetation. I would guess not too far. The bilateral arrangement for this area would fall under the Maloti-Drakensberg Tranfrontier Project, which doesn't seem to be very healthy currently. At the end of the day Lesotho is it's own country, and their priorities don't always align with that of South Africa's. Incidentally, neighbouring Phuthaditjhaba has a thriving alien forest right on the top of the Little Berg.

I think we have a long road to travel when it comes to alien plant control. We need diligence and a lot of time. Even then, I don't think we will ever be rid of pine and some of the other species. It just has to be kept under control. I think we can tackle all existing pines within the UDP-WHS over a period of say 15 years, but even with those, I think we will need to be continuously monitoring for new saplings popping up for many, many years.

And pines are just the tip of the ice-berg. They are also easy to control. The Berg is surrounded by wattle. Not just that, the Mnweni and Vergelegen have wattle pushing high up into the valleys. In the Eastern Cape Berg I have walked through some extensive, highly dense, wattle forests that are very disturbing indeed. Then there are issues with bramble within the UDP-WHS, which is apparently spreading at a very rapid rate.

If we can at-least manage to keep the UDP-WHS well managed in terms of alien vegetation, that is a worthwhile and achievable goal that even we as the public can work towards. For the surrounding areas, time will tell. There sure is a lot of talk about the "Berg Buffer Zone" these days so I'm sure all of this will be looked at sooner or later.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 24 Jul 2013 18:16 by intrepid.
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25 Jul 2013 04:00 #57818 by Selous
Replied by Selous on topic The Pine Tree Project

Really enjoying seeing these historical images.

Perhaps we should start it's own thread - Berg images of Yesteryear.


Sounds like a super idea

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23 Nov 2013 11:55 #59086 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
The following are links to public albums on Google+ of some of the VE's pine eradication endeavours. These picture may be used and re-shared for the purposes of promoting conservation of the Drakensberg, especially alien plant eradication. A link to this particular forum thread should also accompany the use of any of these photos.

Hlatikhulu, Monk's Cowl - November 2013:
plus.google.com/photos/104639461186132148906/albums/5946795525754091473

Tseketseke, Cathedral Peak - June 2012
plus.google.com/photos/104639461186132148906/albums/5784026562024798993

Mhlwazini, Monks Cowl - March 2011
plus.google.com/photos/104639461186132148906/albums/5609971790491620001

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

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16 May 2014 17:46 #60736 by diverian
Replied by diverian on topic The Pine Tree Project
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16 May 2014 18:27 #60737 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
Gosh that's a pretty big tree to drop!

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

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17 May 2014 08:39 #60738 by HFc
Replied by HFc on topic The Pine Tree Project
@ Diverian, goeie werk!! :thumbsup:
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20 May 2014 03:18 #60772 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic The Pine Tree Project
Love your work dude. That must have sounded sweet! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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