Lobby group calls fro SANParks to address Table Mountain bark stripping

Posted by David Henning on 27 June 2022

Friends of Table Mountain (FOTM), a lobby group, has raised the alarm regarding the continued damage to Table Mountain’s limited and treasured indigenous forests.

The group’s members have two areas of concern: Newlands Forest and the Afro-montane forest above Kalk Bay, in Echo Valley.

Bark stripping is a common occurrence in Newlands Forest, where the bark of certain trees is used in traditional medicine. Unfortunately, this is not done sustainably, and the trees are often ring-barked.

Ring-barking is the complete removal of bark around the circumference of the tree, which prevents water and nutrients from reaching the upper levels of the tree, eventually killing it.

While some bark-strippers have been caught in Newlands Forest, the area is too large to patrol and Willem Boshoff, of the FOTM and Newlands Forest Conservation Group, says the current approach is not working. A more proactive approach is required, Boshoff says.

Echo Valley is a lesser-known bark-stripping area. Here, the issue is being investigated by former professor of biological sciences at the University o Cape Town, Edmond February.

He reported that a substantial number of indigenous trees had been cut down completely and several had had branches cut down.

In an open letter, the FOTM has requested:

  1. Pro-active ranger patrols: SANParks rangers need to patrol these hotspots, particularly at night when these environmental crimes take place. It would be very easy for SANParks to police the few entrances to these areas, particularly at night and on weekends.
  2. Use of K9 unit: SANParks needs to use its K9 unit more effectively, especially at night when the dogs’ senses are far better equipped for detecting suspicious people.
  3. Continuous use of monitoring technology: the use of cameras with night vision capabilities and 24/7 monitoring will help the prevention of these problems. The lobby group recommends a system that is in place on all major access routes, with a standby team to act once any suspicious activity is picked up.
  4. Table Mountain National Park hotline: the FOTM has been calling for a hotline for some time for the public to report suspicious activity directly to SANParks, such as bark stripping and overnighting. The FOTM has facilitated the community safety app BUZZER to SANParks for free, but to date, SANParks has not acted on this offer.


Floating Forest at Milano Design Week 2022

yoast-primary - 1004431
tcat - Travel news
tcat_slug - travel-news
tcat2 - Travel news
tcat2_slug - travel-news
tcat_final -