Fynbos is the winner when landowners clear thousands of hectares of land, previously densely covered by invasive alien plants, in the Southern Cape.
With the increase in the number of tourists wishing to experience Nature Reserves in the Garden Route, it is imperative that more land should revert to conservation, unfortunately, much of that land is effected by invasive alien plants.
The Care Taker Campaign, established to encourage land owners and land managers to rehabilitate land effected by invasive alien plants back to Fynbos and indigenous states, is spearheaded by the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI), a public platform for landowners with an interest in the control and eradication of invasive alien plants.
Says Mark Rutherfoord, MD Gondwana Nature Reserve, and Arnold Neethling, MD Botlierskop Nature Reserve, “When managing large tracts of land in the Southern Cape, you will have to accept that thousands of hectares of land is badly affected by invasive alien plants”.
Says Arnold Neethling: “Dense stands of Wattle, Blue Gum, Hakea and Port Jackson has a dramatic (negative) effect on indigenous biodiversity, land available to sustain grazing animals, and the quality of grazing material”.
Before clearing work started, in both Botlierskop and Gondwana Nature Reserves, invasive alien plants effected almost every river, wetland and seep line, as well as large parts of the open landscape.
Says Mark Rutherfoord from Gondwana Nature reserve: “South African visitors to Gondwana are very sensitive to the presence and effects of invasive alien plants, and it certainly effects the quality of their game viewing experience when the landscape is visibly affected by invasive alien plants”.
“We spend a lot of resources clearing our land of invasive aliens, but the result is worth the while. In a partnership with the Working for Water programme, we involve local communities which has a crucial socio-economic spin-off”.
The Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI), is a public platform for landowners and land managers with an interest in the control and eradication of Invasive Alien Plants SCLI is supported by the Table Mountain Fund (TMF).