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 Post subject: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:45 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Okavango
Very sadly Tokai and Cecilia forests have been almost completely decimated. According to an Article in the Cape Times, TMNP used to be 4% exotic forests and has now been reduced to less than half a percent.

This has been done by TMNP without consideration for the tens of thousands of people who use these areas for recreational purposes. I want to know why??
Public outcry has fallen on deaf ears and these once amazing forests have sadly been destroyed.

I use Cecilia forest for running and walking my dogs and growing up as a child I often went with my folks to look for mushrooms at certain times of the year. These forests mean a lot to many people and are a form of sanity when u live in the middle of a big city. They are also the only form of shade in a biome which has mostly low shrubs. I understand there is a drive for protection of natural areas in South Africa and fully support most of what is done. I do however have a big problem with this though and so do almost all Capetonians.
For me the irony is that SANParks loves to help the surrounding poor communities by initiatives such as bringing communities in to harvest Mopani worms while those people in the affluent areas of Cape Town don't get any say in keeping something that's been around for ever and has a real benefit to thousands. Surely this is double standards??

Supposedly the reasons for the cutting down the trees is to regenerate the Fynbos. I was however fortunate enough to be lectured by two very well respected scientists, Midgely and Bond (arguably the best in the world on Fynbos) and having looked at studies involving Fynbos regeneration the findings showed that regeneration takes decades and even on plots where there was good visual recovery after 40 years, an actual species count showed that diversity wasn't great. So who is making the decisions to cut down these trees if the best out there think that 100% regeneration is almost impossible??

This is very unfortunate and I am glad there is a group called 'shout for shade' that has formed to replant some of the trees that have been so suddenly taken away from us. This destruction can't continue.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:38 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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The reason why the plantatons are being removed to restore fynbos. The fynbos type which used to occur in Tokai is called Cape Flats Strandveld Fynbos, this is the world's most endangered vegetation type. There are very few sites left that are undisturbed and restoring sites at Tokai will play an important role in its continued survival.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:37 am 
Even if we can only restore 30% of the original vegetation, we must do it. I am fortunate enough to live close to the mountain, and also enjoy walks through the forest. My route being in and around Newlands Forest up to the contour path to Rhodes Memorial, and Kirstenbosch.

It is eerie moving from sections of natural vegetation to Pine forests. You actually move from a noisy environment full of bird calls and insect noises to silence, with the distant sounds of the city. You move from various vegetation to a barren land with only pine trees, no other vegetation due to the acidity of the pines. Not even weeds on the floor, just soil and pine cones. No birds, no insects nothing.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:37 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Water is also a consideration. The pines are moosa thirsty.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:50 pm 
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Guys, - what is happening to Tokai & Cecilia is a major abuse of democracy. The pines comprised only 4% of TMNP. There are no alien shade trees allowed on the other 96%.

It is widely acknowledged, even by the TMNP pro fynbos botanists, that the public want large shade trees in that tiny area. The public simply do not attach the same importance as botanists do to the regeneration of two small patches of fynbos which 99% of people in CT could not recognize if it was served up to them on a plate.

However much you may value the preservation of some endangered species of fynbos, the general public do not share your priorities. They prefer to have 4% of TM set aside for large shade trees.

We do not want the pines back. We are happy if ANY large shade trees are planted, - if we can find indigenous ones then so much the better. But of course to the extremists, ALL large shade trees are alien since they do not occur naturally in fynbos. That's why they even cut down a majestic stand of Yellowwoods, - because they are indigenous to Outeniqua and not to fynbos! Most normal people do not share that level of botanical fanaticism.

So when Sanbi and TMNP rejoice in their policy of making the entire TMNP into a fynbos reserve, stop and think for a moment that this goes totally against the wishes of the ordinary citizens of CT who USE the mountain. It is a disgrace.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:13 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Welcome to the forum jonathans.

If my info is correct, yellow wood trees grew in Hout Bay and were cut down in the 1600s for shipping & building.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:43 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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BB , there were 1000's and 1000's of big trees . They were cut down for ship's masts , etc .

Herewith an extract from Jan van Riebeeck's diary wherein he speaks about the forest , animals , trees etc .

Den 6 dito.
's morgens omtrent 8 uren wederom kwamen, hebbende den Tafelberg, de Kloof tusschen den Leeuwenberg overgegaan zijnde, heel agter buiten om gewandeld, tot omtrent 6 mijlen het land in, daar zij eene groote schoone bosch hebben vernomen van groote, hooge en regt op wassende boomen, mitsgaders eene menigte van harten, steenbokken en ander wild, daaronder ook cevetkatten, die hier apparent heel abundant zijn,

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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:19 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Okavango
I am 99 percent conservation minded. The 1 missing percent is because I have a big problem with regeneration of Fynbos or other biomes that have been completely disturbed. Focus your money on what we have left than do a poor regeneration job on soil and ground that has been so destroyed. As Okie and BB state from historical records, Yellow Woods used to grow in Hout Bay. BUT they have cut down all the Yellow Woods in Cecilia forest in the last few months...why?? Who is doing the research into something that we are not sure about and even as mentioned in my first post we have no idea how successful regeneration will be. Just a couple of hundred km from here Yellow Woods are heavily protected. Something is wrong here. Its like getting rid of all endangered animals that are protected in areas they didnt previously exist in...whats happened to having back up options in the world we have so badly damaged already?

SANParks is well aware that to get full support and have a bright future, they must understand the needs of the surrounding communities, no matter the income level. The needs of many have been overlooked in this area and there are a lot of unhappy people such as Jonathans. These unhappy people do not bode well for future support of TMNP/SANParks work in the area.

LionWhisperer wrote:
Even if we can only restore 30% of the original vegetation, we must do it. I am fortunate enough to live close to the mountain, and also enjoy walks through the forest. My route being in and around Newlands Forest up to the contour path to Rhodes Memorial, and Kirstenbosch.

It is eerie moving from sections of natural vegetation to Pine forests. You actually move from a noisy environment full of bird calls and insect noises to silence, with the distant sounds of the city. You move from various vegetation to a barren land with only pine trees, no other vegetation due to the acidity of the pines. Not even weeds on the floor, just soil and pine cones. No birds, no insects nothing.


@Lion Whisperer...Hi, wherever you are in the world Pine Forests are not renowned for high species diversity. All the ones on TMNP have as good a diversity as those in Europe in terms of birds and mammals. I have recorded about 10 species of large raptor in these forests as well as porcupine, genet, Puff Adders and others. I see as much 'Magefauna' here in terms of many raptors that use these forests for roosting/breeding.

Bush Baptist wrote:
Water is also a consideration. The pines are moosa thirsty.


@ Bush Baptist...true but according to the article which I read, most water that falls on TMNP goes straight into the sea. Its not in a catchment area as such. Carbon emissions are in fact a greater worry and as stated again in the article, having a forest will trap up carbon in the form of wood.

To me the obvious solution would have been to look at regenerating small patches of these forests. Say 1 hectare at a time to see how successfully the regeneration would have worked on these once pine tree covered soils. It looked like this was already attempted many years ago, but if that was the case regenerations certainly wasn't looking that impressive.
Anyway this is definitely not the last of this issue. In fact there is more and more support growing against this poor decision making whereby the public was completely excluded after a big initial outcry.
I am sure interested to see where this one goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:14 pm 
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Honorary Virtual Ranger
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Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
This letter (pdf) concerning the plantations was just posted.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:00 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Worcester , Cape
Well explained . Thank you DQ :thumbs_up:

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Next :
3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
14 - 17 Sept 2013 - Satara .


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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:06 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Interesting debate re plantations but the YELLOWWOOD question still worries me.
Yellowwoods would have a huge commercial value!
The info from Sanparks via Duques shows lots of hope for planning replacement of pines with indigenous vegetation and trees, but on my first read , I did not see a reference to the Yellowwoods. :doh:


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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:25 pm 
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While I fully support the suppression of exotic vegetation and the restoration of different fynbos types at Table Mountain NP, I guess public support could be greater if SANPARKS better disclosed how they actually undertake restoration of degraded areas :
- e.g. maps of infested areas, planned cuttings
- especially photographs of work undertaken over time (e.g. several pictures taken every year for different sites) so as to demonstrate (rather than merely state) them reaching ecological performance targets.
Besides, this would provide tangible information to stakeholders, building the case for fynbos restoration in other areas.


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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Have to say I am in favour of them being cut down. I love silvertrees. Those slopes are perfect silvertree areas. And given that they only live to around 30 years old and max out at around 10 metres I dont think it will be too long before they start taking back the areas that were once theirs and giving a bit of shade too. Alien forest is also virtually devoid of most types of birdlife who tend to concentrate in the areas with endemic bush which is another big minus for me personally. I for one am really looking forwards to having my kids enjoy the new silvertree cecelia forest in 10 to 15 years time. Would be even better if Kirstenbosch would get on board and actively start planting there. Just my 2 cents


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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:04 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi all

I work for Sanbi (South African National Biodiversity Institute) and I know Tony Rebelo and I have helped with the collection of seeds and plant material as well as the growth of plants for Tokai. It is essential that as much of the Cape Flats sand fynbos is saved as possible it is officially the world's most threatened veg type. Erica verticillata which is currently extinct in the wild is one of the plant species we are try to reintroduce to the Tokai area if this is successful we will be able to down grades its status to Critically Endangered, we are doing this with other species that once occured in the area as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Why are Table Mountain's forests being cut down??
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:51 am 
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Hi Naturelover,

Thanks for that input.
I fully appreciate & support endangered species reintroduction / habitat restoration.
Woudl you have any report avalaible on the great work being done?

Thanks

Joel


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