Environmental Activities

June 11th, 2012

TREE PLANTING PROGRAM

Tree Planting program Doornkop Resort Nature Reserve

Tree Planting program Doornkop Resort Nature Reserve

Although the cold conditions were ideal for trout fishing, some damage was done to the trees which we planted during our tree planting programme early last Summer.  White Stinkwoods, Buffalo Thorns, Karee’s, Mountain Cabbage Trees, River Bush willows and Sweet Thorn’s were planted all over the Reserve.

At the end of winter we will make an assessment of the condition of these trees and determine the damage done to trees by the frosty weather.  This information will assist us in deciding which species of trees to plant in the future also keeping in mind the needs of our browsing game.

A quick assessment seems to indicate that the Karee’s and the River Bush Willows suffered the least damage and we may concentrate on these species in future.  No decision will however be made without a detailed assessment.

DOORNKOP STRIVING TO FARM RESPONSIBLY

Earlier in the year the Board decided that Doornkop needed to be managed on a more scientific basis than before in order to ensure long term sustainability.  Bataleur Environmental Services was appointed to undertake the study and during the past months several tests were undertaken on soil quality, types of grasses, veld condition, carrying capacity and the impact of burning on the various types of vegetation found on the reserve.

This report, with recommendations, has just been received and at the time of writing, is being distributed to the Board for study and to decide on the actions to be undertaken to ensure sustainability.

EXOTIC VEGETATION ERADICATION

Culling exotic trees Doornkop Nature Reserve

Culling exotic trees

Everything that originates from Australia (apart from their rugby team) appears to be a problem.  Throughout South Africa, conservationists and the government appear to be fighting a battle against Port Jackson’s, Wattles, Blue gums and Fire Thorns.  Doornkop and the surrounding areas are no exception and we have a constant and costly battle to contain the spread of invader species.

During the past two years, ‘Working for Water’ did not do any exotic vegetation treatment on Doornkop.  Unfortunately the delay caused the severe re growth of young Wattle trees in these areas. They did however recently start again with the eradication of Black wattle trees along the Swartwaterspruit and Komati River.

We are however not waiting for the “Working for Water” teams to perform their jobs and have drawn up a map of the existing and new Black Wattle clusters on the reserve.  These maps will assist our own team to clear up the reserve by removing the Black Wattles and the Fire Thorns which threaten to take over the reserve if action is not taken timeously.

The Prickly Pear invaders are finally showing signs of defeat against the Cochineal which we released approximately a year ago.  The Cochineal has also started spreading to areas where it wasn’t released originally and we are optimistic that most of the Prickly Pears will soon be something of the past.

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