Our work has just begun

2017-02-07 06:01

The fires of 2015 and 2016 on Elsies Peak have resulted in a wonderful resurgence of fynbos, but unfortunately, also a huge concurrent growth of alien species, especially Australian wattles. Several people have been hard at work weeding the mountain, and schools and other youth groups, such as the Fish Hoek Brownies, have also contributed.

Thanks to this energy and commitment we hope to maintain the biodiversity of this very special mountain. Some species of fynbos, like Serruria cyanaroides, only grow on Elsies Peak.

The battle against the aliens is long from over and at a critical stage, as many are getting to be very difficult to be pulled out by hand. In a few months’ time this will become impossible.

The tree popper, an ingenuous invention by Somerset West resident Terry Negus, is a great help with the tough stuff. I have acquired one and am willing to lend it to other alien-busting groups in the valley.

However, the chief reason for writing this is to communicate with other hackers, recruit new ones and re-establish the Elsies Peak hacking group. Even if you can help only sporadically, it will be great to have you on board. Every young tree pulled out means thousands of seeds less. Call me on 083 555 2966 if you are interested.

I also want to appeal to residents to get rid of invasive alien vegetation on their properties. The seeds are spread by birds, which have total freedom of movement between the urban areas and the surrounding mountains. Having these trees on your property is illegal and a threat to our environment.

Eva van Belle Email

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