Unpacking the Tokai Pine Plantation Issue

Local is lekker!……….well that is what you would think local people should think but there are a whole lot of Tokai locals who do not agree.
We each have our own opinions and have a right to them but what about the rights of the plants?

Should it be this? ………………………………………………..or this?

Kirstenbosch Hort students marvel at the Erica verticillata plants in full bloom
Kirstenbosch Hort students marvel at the Erica verticillata plants in full bloom
Pelargonium seedling struggling to grow in the shade of the pines
Pelargonium seedling struggling to grow in the shade of the pines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Assistant Education Officers from the Gold Fields Centre at Kirstenbosch took time to visit the Tokai Plantation and walk in the area to see for themselves what all the fuss if about……

The team of Assistant Education Officers from Gold Fields Environmental Education Centre Kirstenbosch
The team of Assistant Education Officers from Gold Fields Environmental Education Centre Kirstenbosch

 

Measuring the plant diversity in the pines and in the fynbos

Measuring diversity of a 10 x 10m plot
Measuring diversity of a 10 x 10m plot in the pine plantation
Measuring diversity in the regenerated fynbos area
Measuring diversity in the regenerated fynbos area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pine trees are a monoculture and effectively shade out other plants from growing underneath them.
The diversity that local fynbos is renowned to have, has been effectively eradicated.
I wonder where all the small animals that live on the local plants have gone to now?

 

 

Unpacking ideas into the points of the Compass Rose

At the end of the session we spent time capturing some of the ideas to unpack the causes and effects of the issue into four areas based on the points of the compass. This activity is called the Compass Rose Activity and can be used to unpack any environmental issue
unpacking causes and effects of the issue of the Tokai pine plantation
unpacking causes and effects of the issue of the Tokai pine plantation

NORTH =

Natural or biological aspects of the issue

What does nature provide?

What will nature lose?

                          WEST =                                                                                                                    EAST =

Who makes decisions about the issue?                                                                    Economic aspect of the issue.

                                                                                                                            Who pays? who earns money?

SOUTH =

Social aspects of the issue

What do people gain ? lose?

What do people want?

The battle continues to rage between the fynbos folk and the pine people.
I know that the only way forward is for people to talk to each other and gain an understanding of the different perspectives.
In order to generate a  win-win situation the different people concerned have to be honest and open and willing to compromise.
However, I don’t think that enough people have taken the time to learn the language of plants and nature in general and that actually money and personal greedy needs have very loud, dominant voices.
How far can human beings afford to compromise nature and allow species to go extinct?

Comments from participants:

Eleanor:
A nice change to be able to go out into the community, especially not being a Capetonian, I am often not aware of what is out there.
To be able to see first hand the issue of forest vs fynbos, having read about it on social media is interesting. I now follow “baboon matters” fb page and for them Baboons are endangered (being culled indiscriminately) in other provinces where they grow these plantations, as apparently they have been stripping the bark. So, for me, these trees are not only taking away from our indigenous plants, but other species seem to be suffering too.
Melanie:
Sadly it was a bit of a case of “preaching to the converted”. Would have loved to have heard the views of those in favour of keeping the pines.
As we lived right next to the forest about 30 years ago, it was, on a personal note, very interesting for me. Very interesting to see Erica verticillata growing near the river – unusual Erica habitat.
Jane:
It was lovely to see how many people were using the paths and boardwalks – groups of young women, dog walkers, old men and horse riders.
The soil – white quartz sand – was amazing to see pine trees thriving in those poor soils – nothing growing under the pines and huge diversity in sand plain fynbos.
It was wonderful to see Erica verticillata in situ. It likes to be in a damp area and was looking beautiful growing next to a wetland.
Nazeerah:
The entire experience was informative. I mostly enjoyed the transect as we often do it with the learners, but we were now the learners.
Thank you, Wendy, for always being engaging and sharing knowledge and information eg understanding how scientifically biodiversity is captured.
The choice of area was well suited for the discussion: water tables, loss of species / anti / pro pines, etc.
Veronica:
Learning about Fynbos plants – what type of areas can they grow eg close to water. Alien trees take a different amount of water – it depends on the tree size. How fynbos likes pine tree soil.
Almuth:
The day was a good eye-opener to the story around a specific area. To see the:Locality around which a controversy is raging (eg in newspapers, media, etc)
S/B a scientific approach of solving – but it seems to be emotional
Good to see how community and parks board make an area accessible to everybody to use: dog walkers, horse riders, walkers …
Erica Verticillata
Using our “compass rose” to analyse what was seen and discussed during the day

 

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