Areas affected by the Knysna fires, specifically where indigenous Fynbos is concerned, are slow to regenerate. Although most of the Fynbos will probably regenerate only later on this year, the slower than expected regeneration can be ascribed to the high intensity of the fires that swept through Buffels Bay and through Plettenberg Bay.

Although nature, especially Fynbos, is adapted to, and even dependent on fire regimes, and even very hot fires, regeneration appears slow, says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI).

Along the more rocky parts of the Knysna coast there are examples of broken and sharded rocks present everywhere, which serves as proof of the intensity of the fire.

In some areas bright yellow flowers (Bobartia aphylla) dominate the landscape, which looks stunning against the blackened soil, but, other than that, there is little to show. Granted, it is still early days for several species to show their presence, and the fact that so little rain is falling, is not helpful.

Having witnessed the devastating effect of invasive alien plants in the event of a fire, Southern Cape landowners are finally waking up to the many dangers posed by invasive alien plants on their land.

Following the Knysna/ Wilderness/ Stil Bay fires, landowners are utilizing every available contractor and chipper machine to clear their land of invasive alien plants.

Municipalities and environmental authorities are happy with this development, as all indications are that those responsible for enforcing legislation are bound to take stringent action where landowners are not clearing their land.

Landowners Clearing Land

Following the devastating fires, Southern Cape landowners are clearing their land of invasive alien plants in an effort to reduce fire risk on their properties, and in order to comply with relevant legislation.

Yellow flowers ( Bobartia aphylla) Knysna

Yellow flowers ( Bobartia aphylla) dominate devastated landscapes near Knysna.

The Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI), is a public platform for landowners and land managers who have an interest in the control and eradication of invasive alien plants. As part of its Water Stewardship Initiative, SCLI is piloting WEP systems in the Southern Cape. SCLI is supported by the Table Mountain Fund, an associated trust of WWF SA, visit www.wwf.org.za for more information.

Written by Cobus Meiring