The Pine Tree Project

23 Oct 2015 18:09 - 23 Oct 2015 18:10 #65506 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
The following article was recently published on page 2 of the spring edition of the Champagne News magazine (Smurf and tonymarshall in the photo):



I am pleased that our efforts have sparked some interest. It is also very good to see Papa Dragon and co taking initiative on their own to tackle some pines. This project is beyond the scope of just our little official VE Berg trips - it belongs to all, just as the Berg belongs to all. :thumbsup:

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

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Last edit: 23 Oct 2015 18:10 by intrepid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, kliktrak, Smurfatefrog, ruthtbl, Silverthorne, andrew r, Papa Dragon

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24 Oct 2015 15:42 - 24 Oct 2015 15:44 #65513 by andrew r
Replied by andrew r on topic The Pine Tree Project
Well done VE tree-fellers, thoroughly deserved recognition for your considerable commitment & efforts.

Would-be hackers keen to help need to note that there is a strict protocol to be followed which includes obtaining permission from Ezemvelo-KZN Wildlife, only using hand tools (i.e. no chainsaws), and no chemicals/herbicides. I'm sure intrepid has posted full details somewhere.

make a difference. today.
Last edit: 24 Oct 2015 15:44 by andrew r.

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24 Oct 2015 20:47 #65514 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project

andrew r wrote: I'm sure intrepid has posted full details somewhere.

Actually the details are fragmented, some being on this thread, others being on the VE trip reports. We still need to put together a proper document. The protocols would be:
1. Consult and pet permission from the relevant KZN Wildlife Officer in Charge (Conservation Manager).
2. Not a rule, but be encouraged to get input and discuss your plans on this forum.
3. Use only handtools such as pangas and bowsaws, unless EKZNW has given permission for other methods.
4. Make sure the treatment is done properly (see below).
5. Take photos and GPS readings (failing which, pinpoint the locations on the hiking map).
6. Report back to EKZNW after the trip.
7. Again not a rule, but give feedback on this forum too and let us have the GPS data so we can keep our own database updated.
8. Do some follow up to the sites 2-5 years after and be prepared to tackle more saplings and trees that have not died from ringbarking.


Treatment guide:
1. Determine if the tree can be cut down, or if it should be ring-barked. The smaller ones are obvious to determine. A 70cm bowsaw (a standard on our trips) can be used to determine the method by holding up the saw against the tree trunk. If the tree trunk is well within the width of the saw it can be cut down fairly easily. The closer the tree trunk width gets to the width of the saw, the harder it will be. Tree trunks the same width or wider should normally be ring-barked.

2. Regardless of the method, cut branches down around the base of the trunk using a bow saw to make space to work (or a panga if thats all you have). If you are intending to ring-bark be generous in how many branches you clear so that the ring-barked area is exposed to the sun, elements and fire as much as possible.

3. If cutting down the tree, saw about 3/4 of the way through, make sure everyone is clear and then push and rock the tree so that it snaps and falls. Cut through the remainder of the trunk to sever it totally. The stump should still be ring-barked as a fail-safe measure, and make extra sure that any branches and growth-shoots remaining on the trunk are properly treated.

4. If ring-barking, remove 70-100cm of bark from the base of the tree where it emerges from the soil. Use the length of a 70cm bowsaw as a guide to check how much to take off. Make sure you strip the bark right down to the yellow-white hard, woody layers, taking care to remove all brownish/pinkish layers. Make sure any branches in the ring-barked zone are also properly treated and that all growth-shoots are removed.

5. If you notice many younger trees around an adult tree, make sure you fine-comb the area for tiny little saplings too which can be as small as about 2cm and remove these too.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, kliktrak, Smurfatefrog, andrew r, Papa Dragon

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26 Oct 2015 10:08 - 26 Oct 2015 16:27 #65522 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project
Planning to tackle a few pines in the Hospitalspruit cave area in January. Will do 3 days to try and make the trip worthwhile.

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Last edit: 26 Oct 2015 16:27 by Papa Dragon.

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26 Oct 2015 10:09 - 26 Oct 2015 16:27 #65523 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project
It is surprising, as I think Intrepid has mentioned before, how many man hours go into ringbarking the bigger trees.

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Last edit: 26 Oct 2015 16:27 by Papa Dragon.

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28 Oct 2015 17:49 - 28 Oct 2015 17:55 #65556 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic The Pine Tree Project
Looks like KZN MCSA is finally getting in on the act of doing some alien destruction. And they have only been going for about 100 years longer than VE...

Iona Stewart wrote: Hullo All Mountain Lovers,

Oscar Mtimkhulu of Ezemvelo told the Pmb Wednesday group that the biggest threat to the berg was the invasion of alien fauna and flora. For various reasons, Ezemvelo is unable to do much about it, so the MCSA have agreed that we, the club, would do what we can.

SO:- The weekend of 28/29 November has been set aside (and is on the meetsheet), for us to kill the aliens, plants this time. The MCSA, in consultation with the relevant Ezemvelo authorities, have adopted a segment of the berg, and are undertaking to keep it free of aliens. The area chosen for now is Cobham, west of the camp on the Giants Cup trail, for 8 km towards Sani.

The idea is for as many of us as possible to meet at Cobham, spend a few hours spraying bramble, and then having fun – hiking, climbing, swimming, jolling, (unless someone is keen enough to go on spraying for longer)!

Those who can will meet at the Cobham campsite on Friday night the 27th November, so that that group can start by 08:00 and go to the furthest reaches of our target area. The rest meet on Saturday, same venue to work outwards from the campsite. We will have a combined braai Saturday night and then play on Sunday.

Please could you indicate to me if you are able to join us, so that I can work out the finer details of our campaign. Herbicides will be provided. Any spare sprayers, knapsack or hand held household sprayers, would be handy if available.

Looking forward to a good response!

Cheers, Iona Stewart.


Interesting to see the use of sprays, I thought that wasn't how it was done?

Getting to the top is nothing, the way you do it is everything – Royal Robins
Last edit: 28 Oct 2015 17:55 by ghaznavid.

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28 Oct 2015 18:27 #65558 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
Chemical treatment is warranted depending on the need. For bramble and wattle it is actually necessary for successful treatment. The bramble problem is very serious as it is spreading very rapidly and some fear that the battle has already been lost in the Berg. The pines are actually the more pleasant aliens to work with - easy to spot, fun to watch falling over, smells nice when you cut them, and, not having to handle poison can actually be seen as a positive thing. Poison has to be handled in a proper manner too in order to avoid environmental contamination.

We have had some peripheral discussions about the use of chemicals and chainsaws in the treatment of pines. Our recommendation has been to use both, especially in cases where the infestation is very dense and where there are proper pines forests such as can be found at Hlatikhulu. It would be a better use of labour resources and it would speed up the eradication rate, considering for example that drilling two or three holes into a tree with a battery powered drill and injecting small amounts of poison would go a lot faster than ring-barking and be far less tiring. Theoretically the poison can break down over time since the tree will remain standing for many years even when it is dead. This is being considered, but necessary channels and consultations have to be done first. This is why I mentioned in the treatment method above "Use only handtools such as pangas and bowsaws, unless EKZNW has given permission for other methods".

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
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16 Nov 2015 11:56 #65799 by Dave
Replied by Dave on topic The Pine Tree Project
There are two smallish or middle-sized pines some distance apart on the slopes above the contour path after Nyosi Falls, if you're coming from the Cockade end. Unfortunately I don't have exact co-ordinates or photos.
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21 Dec 2015 21:15 #66199 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project
Evening all.

Is anyone interested in doing a pine tree working hike in the Hospitalspruit area?
Intended dates are hike in on Friday 8th January, overnight at Hospitalspruit cave, work on pines on Saturday 9th, overnight again, return Sunday.
Will be accompanied by Mark Robertson, Conservation Manager Monk's Cowl EKZNW.

Let me know....

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26 Dec 2015 09:03 #66239 by Papa Dragon
Replied by Papa Dragon on topic The Pine Tree Project

Papa Dragon wrote: Evening all.

Is anyone interested in doing a pine tree working hike in the Hospitalspruit area?
Intended dates are hike in on Friday 8th January, overnight at Hospitalspruit cave, work on pines on Saturday 9th, overnight again, return Sunday.
Will be accompanied by Mark Robertson, Conservation Manager Monk's Cowl EKZNW.

Let me know....


Just bumping this back up.
At this stage only Mark and I confirmed, so plenty of space.
I realise it's probably a bad time of the season, but consider joining us for a fun hike in a quiet area that is seldom visited, and give something back to our beautiful Berg at the same time.

Cheers
Papa D

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