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Trees in Kruger

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Meandering Mouse
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:15 am

Peter Derichs, in "Peter's Guide to the Kruger Park" has added some photos and descriptions of various trees in his book. I am really looking forward to making use of this on my next trip.

I would, however, like to see a more comprehensive tree guide where we can go out and identify various trees and read more about their place in the eco system. I would be more than happy to add such a book to my collection.

As much as I love and enjoy looking at trees, I find them rather difficult to identify. I would also like to know as much about a tree as possible. I think I'm too blonde for my current tree guide.
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by hfglen » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:33 pm

What guide are you using, Mouse?

Family Glen will be in the KNP in 2 weeks' time, with Piet van Wyk's Field Guide, the Jacana Lowveld Tree Spotting book and the Mpumalanga tree book (Schmidt et al 2002, Jacana). Oh, and a draft computer-aided identification key by myself. Which should get a name for the tree, but won't tell us what it's doing there. Some of that ecological information is in academic papers (some of that incomprehensible), but probably more is completely unknown.
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:24 am

Meandering Mouse wrote:That's sounds wonderful. :thumbs_up:

I have Braam, Piet and Ben-Erik van Wyk's book, "Photographic Guide to Trees of Southern Africa". I do enjoy it, but I like to understand things contextualy. I do get a bit confused with detail.

I am considering studying for FGASA 1, just for my own enjoyment. I am sure that I will then have to add considerably to my current library.

MM, The FGASA manual is actually pretty good. I didn't need any other references to pass the theory exam (though I do have plenty more books).

I have the van Wyk & van Wyk field guide, Sappi Tree-Spotting Bushveld (which isn't all that useful). My brother's got van Wyk's 'How to Identify Trees' which I can recommend, and another book about indigenous trees (I can't remember details off-hand). van Wyk & van Wyk's identification key and tree (which appears in all their books) is very useful. I still struggle plenty plenty trying to ID trees from a book though.

I also have the pocket photographic guide, which I use when hiking etc but I don't find it too useful.
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by Imberbe » Wed Oct 07, 2009 12:51 pm


If you are looking at only Kruger, the new one by Van Wyk which covers only the Kruger trees is an excellent option. It simplifies life, since there are less options to confuse.

The problems with plants is that you never have enough books.
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by hfglen » Wed Oct 07, 2009 9:42 pm

MM, I have the Van Wyks' all-southern-Africa book too. IMHO they have crammed too many trees into too small a volume, and so the detail you want tends to get left out. That's why I'm actually taking the Mpumalanga book rather. In addition, Schmidt et al have had the good sense to put the important bits of each tree in bold, which helps a lot. (Heads-up to KZN forum-ites: Richard Boon showed me bromides of a few pages of his revised Pooley's-trees a week or 2 back; he's gone one further and put the key features in a different colour type.)

Joshi, if it makes you feel any better, the pro's also struggle identifying from a couple of mouldy leaves and a book. In the dear forgotten days of 'Talking of nature' on the (radio) English Service, Prof. Schelpe (under whom I was a postgrad student for several years) greeted nearly every submission from the public with a mutter along the lines of " we really need a form letter saying 'Dear Sir / Madam, We are botanists, not magicians ...' ". I also find the Sappi book less than perfect, but at least more recent printings have exact locations of some trees I want to see.

Imberbe, the problem with plant books is they always leave out the critical bit you want. That's one reason why you need a crate of the things.
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:04 pm

Yeah, they have crammed a lot in and often the exact photo you want isn't in the book though.
However I much prefer the v Wyk & v Wyk identification method (decision tree) compared to the (possibly old by now) Sappi Treespotting method, which doesn't actually work at all in the Waterberg (most trees appear everywhere).

The Sappi books are much much better though when it comes to things that are a bit more interesting (and tested in the FGASA assessments), like uses, cultural uses and animal uses etc.

At least I've managed to positively ID some acacias directly from the book, but those are relatively easy. 'Baby steps' I keep telling myself...
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by hfglen » Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:28 pm

Fully agreed! Which is one reason I'm looking forward to the next generation of e-books, or even the electronic tree key I'm making. This has as many pictures as one wants plus a fact sheet attached to each species in the key. And the size of the fact-sheet is effectively limited only by the capacity of the media the key is presented on, and the compiler's patience. Which in practice means that I can get nominally all the trees in Africa on one DVD, with 5 images and a page of text each. If I can find the images and the facts, of course ...
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Wed Oct 07, 2009 10:48 pm

I've got v Wky & v Wyk's guide on my PDA phone. I don't use it that often (its not so well designed) but using the decision tree should work very nicely on a software application.
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Re: Kruger Trees

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Thu Oct 08, 2009 5:19 am

Imberbe, I will try to get the Kruger book for my next trip.... in one month :dance: :dance:

Josh, great to have young people with your enthusiasm.

HFglen, I was listening to Radio 702 many months back. I heard someone from UJ being inteviewed by Jenny Cryss Williams on DNA tree identification. Are you involved with that project?
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Trees in Kruger

Unread post by flying cheetah » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:55 pm

Can anyone recommend a book about trees found in KNP or in Southern Africa in general? Thanks in advance :thumbs_up:
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Re: Trees in Kruger

Unread post by ndloti » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:01 am

I googled each authors name and added "tree books" after the authors name ...
Reference books
1) "Trees of KNP" by Piet van Wyk - I have no idea if it is still in print .
2) "Trees of Southern Africa" by Keith Coates - Palgrave

There is also a coffee table book "Bushveld Trees" with good photography by Malcolm Funston .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Re: Trees in Kruger

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:05 am

van Wyk and van Wyk is the best-known field guide at the moment.
I think Keith Coates-Palgrave's book is more of a reference.

There are a few others including the Sappi Tree Spotting series (Lowveld for the KNP) which I don't particularly like (but I own a few)
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