Put the Cedar back in Cederberg

2009-10-13 10:57
The Clanwilliam Cedar tree (Widdringtonia Cedarbergensis) - after which the Cederberg mountain area has been named  - is classified as endangered on the global Red Data List and faces a high risk of extinction. (CapeNature)

The Clanwilliam Cedar tree (Widdringtonia Cedarbergensis) - after which the Cederberg mountain area has been named - is classified as endangered on the global Red Data List and faces a high risk of extinction. (CapeNature)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The Cederberg in the North West Cape with its rugged mountains, flowering fynbos and ancient, indigenous landscape is a spectacular sight but, ironically, the endemic Clanwilliam Cedar tree - (Widdringtonia Cedarbergensis) after which the area is named - is virtually nowhere to be seen.

Historic manipulation of the natural veld through frequent burning to stimulate grass growth for livestock grazing, indiscriminate felling for buildings, furniture and telephone poles and more frequent fires (owing to environmental changes and climate change), has nearly wiped out these beautiful trees, and the species is classified as endangered on the global Red Data List and faces a high risk of extinction.

"The endemic Clanwilliam Cedar occurs only in the Cederberg Mountains, some 250km north of Cape Town, and it represents one of 1 000 surviving conifer species in the world," says Fanie Bekker, Executive Director of Operations: CapeNature.

The Cedar grows in fire-prone fynbos vegetation which burns every 11-15 years and depends on seed germination for regeneration of the species, but only reaches seed-bearing maturity after 20 years.

The impact of global climate change, concomitant with too frequent fires are inhibiting this process, says Bekker.

However, a new partnership between business and conservation hopes to address the plight of the Cedar by committing to replant the species back into the environment.

The Cedar restoration project

SA wholesale tree nursery Just Trees and sister company, red espresso - pioneers of Rooibos tea espresso - have given their long-term commitment to assisting CapeNature in an effort to save the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar tree from extinction.

"While we have been working hard to get both our companies profitable, we have been constantly aware of the need to support one or other needy cause," Carl Pretorius, the founder of both Just Trees and red espresso, told News24 in an interview.

"So when we heard about the plight of the Clanwilliam Cedar, while driving through the Cederberg, it was such an easy decision. Just Trees has the skills and infrastructure to assist in propagating the seeds and replanting them into the wild, while it also makes perfect sense to preserve the home of Rooibos, the main ingredient for red espresso," Pretorius explained.

According to Pretorius the first batch of 2 000 seeds has been sown on their 42-hectare nursery outside Paarl, and these saplings are already 5-10cm high.

"We undertake to re-establish one Clanwilliam Cedar for every twenty trees we sell. This will equate to at least 1 000 trees this year, which more than doubles the current number of Cedars being planted out each year."

Members of the public can participate in two ways:

1) When buying trees for their gardens, they can ask their landscapers for trees from Just Trees. For every 20 trees that they buy, 1 Clanwilliam Cedar will be planted back into the wild.

2) By supporting red espresso products and beverages, they will be contributing to all the Clanwilliam Cedars being planted back into the Cederberg by Just Trees.

CapeNature and Just Trees will replant the young Cedar trees in the Cederberg Mountains on a special planting day in May 2010.

"The actual date and site where the trees will be replanted will be selected by CapeNature," says Pretorius. "It will be an area that is suitable and that can be protected by CapeNature."

Members of the local Heuningvlei community as well as kids from nearby schools will be invited to assist in planting out the trees, Pretorius concludes.

Read more on:    plants  |  environment  |  climate change

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.