Plant local this Arbor Week
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, has called on South Africans to plant local this arbor week.
“South Africa celebrates National Arbor Week from 1-7 September. Trees keep our air supply clean, reduce noise pollution, improve water quality, help prevent erosion, provide food and building materials, create shade, and help make our landscapes look beautiful.”
Bredell says the key to planting trees is to plant indigenous species.
“The Western Cape is particularly blessed with indigenous trees – from the densely forested Garden Route,
filled with Yellowwoods, Keurbooms, Stinkwoods and Alders, all the way to the Cederberg, home to a small remaining number of endemic Cedar Trees.”
The Cedar Tree (Widdringtonia cederbergensis), endemic to the Cederberg area, used to cover most of the landscape, until it’s near decimation by industry in the late 1800s and frequent fires over the past century.
The Cedar, which gave the area its name (despite the small difference in spelling), is now critically endangered,
and despite conservation efforts over a number of years, remains an extremely vulnerable species.
“The Cedar tree today confined only to a small 250km2 area of the world, stands anywhere from 5 to 20m tall.
One can only imagine how incredible it would have been to see them covering the hillsides in the Cederberg over 100 years ago.”
The Western Cape’s Biodiversity entity, CapeNature, is committed to conserving the current population, and introducing more saplings each year, through various various planting programs.
“The aim is to not only conserve what has survived, but grow that population in a sustainable way, so that future generations may enjoy the beauty of these magnificent trees too.”
Other trees being highlighted this Arbor week is the common tree of the year - the ‘forest bushwillow’ or Combretum kraussii and the 2015 Rare tree of the year - commonly known as the Parsley tree or Wildepieterseliebos (Heteromorpha arborescens).
For more information regarding Arbor Week, please go to: www.arborday.org
Additionally keep an eye on CapeNature’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.