24 February 2020

“The 2017/2018 wildfire disasters across the Southern Cape region has had a profound impact on the way landowners now have to manage what grows on their land,” says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI).

According to Meiring, landowners in the Southern Cape have never been strangers to the impact of wildfire, but up until the Knysna disaster of 2017, the threat of invasive alien plants as a catalyst and fuel source for run-away fires have been grossly underestimated and mostly ignored.

“Propelled by an exceptionally strong wind riding the back of a dry, hot autumn, and burning unbridled through a landscape littered with dense stands of invasive alien plants, the 2017 Knysna wildfire turned out to be one of the worst natural disasters in recorded African history, causing several human casualties and billions of rand in damages to regional biodiversity, property and infrastructure.”

“Since then, and enhanced by the 2018 Outeniqua fires – which destroyed close to 200 000 hectares in a matter of days – the way landowners have to manage their land in the region has changed irreversibly,” says Meiring.

“Gone are the days of allowing vast stretches of private property being overrun by Rooikrans, wattles and blue gum, and gone are the days of living abroad and leaving land unattended, posing a clear threat to neighbouring farms, homesteads and public infrastructure.”

In order to assist regional landowners, in particular those affected by the wildfire and now finding themselves badly affected by aggressive and almost irreversible regrowth of invasive alien plants, SCLI is hosting a training workshop on invasive alien plant management for landowners in the Brenton, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Goukamma and Rheenendal areas.

The training workshop will be facilitated by SCLI in the Brenton-on-Sea community hall on Thursday 19 March followed by a practical session.

For more information, landowners who are interested in attending the workshop can contact the SCLI Secretariat directly via email: marti.kirstein@gmail.com

Since the 2017 Knysna wildfire disaster, the way regional landowners and land managers have to manage what grows on their land has changed irreversibly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

** The Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) is a public platform and think tank for landowners and land managers with an interest in invasive alien plant management, water stewardship and land management. SCLI is supported by the Table Mountain Fund (TMF), a subsidiary of WWF SA. SCLI also manages the Secretariat of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

Written by Marti Kirstein