The Garden Route National Park (GRNP) is not losing the fight against invasive alien species, according to Biodiversity Social Programmes Cluster Manager for the GRNP, Walter Mzimba. Invasive alien species (AIS) are the Southern Cape’s biggest challenge to conservation, as they are a fire hazard and suck up chunks of water. The most common AIS are blue gum and pine.
He says the plan for controlling invasive alien species inside the GRNP and its buffer zone includes the following methods:
- Manual / Mechanical methods – felling, removing or burning, uprooting, slashing, mowing or felling, ring or strip-barking
- Chemical methods
- Foliar application – to the leaves and stems
- Basal Stem application – to stems of standing trees
- Partial Frill or Stem injection – to holes or cuts (frills) made in the stem
- Stump application – to the cut surface of freshly cut stumps
- Biological control – certain IAPs have natural enemies, insects and or diseases that are species specific and can therefore safely be used as a control method
- Integrated control – combinations of the three control methods mentioned above. Often an integrated approach is required in order to maximize the control interventions.
Biodiversity Social Projects (BSP) are teams that restore ecosystems to what they should be, catering for infrastructure needs of the Park. The Programmes began working in the Garden Route National Park in the 1990 with the following objectives:
- ‘To conserve biodiversity
- Contribute to water security and the aesthetic value of the park
- Reduce Invasive Alien Plants (IAPs) to a maintenance phase in all National Parks
- Prevent establishment of new IAP infestations through:
- Rapid response to emerging weed infestations
- Clearing a buffer zone around all parks
- Management and control of the induction of new plant species into all parks
- Educate and raise awareness around IAPs and management thereof
- Create job opportunities through the IAP clearing operations
- Build capacity within communities through training interventions’
About 321 people are employed by BSP in the Tsitsikamma section of the GRNP for the 2014-2015 Financial Year. A total of 1 141 people are employed by BSP in Garden Route National Park for the FY 2014-2015
How many people were employed some 10 years ago by BSP?
- 460 people employed in 2003-2004 GRNP
- 1141 people employed in 2014-2015 GRNP
- 226 people employed in 2003-2004 Tsitsikamma
- 443 people employed in 2013-2014 Tsitsikamma
How many hectares of land do projects cover in Tsitsikamma? How many in the Garden Route NP?
- 01 hectares cleared in 2003-2004 Tsitsikamma
- 5 495.42 hectares to be cleared 2014-2015 Tsitsikamma
- 20 259.53 hectares cleared in 2013-2014 GRNP
- 25 975.39 hectares to be cleared in 2014-2015 GRNP