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Table Mountain National Park
Research & Projects
The Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) administered by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) assists in various environmental projects in the TMNP as well as other sensitive areas across the country. All alien clearing undertaken in the TMNP is funded by Working for Water.
EPWP Projects include those under the following programmes:
- Working for Wetlands
- Working on Fire
- Working on Land
- Working for the Coast
- Working for Wildlife
In 2004 TMNP received a R35 million grant from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) for the Expanded Public Works Programme. This initiated Phase 1 of the EPWP programme at TMNP. The grant allowed the park to engage over 400 people from local communities surrounding the park, through skills training and development over a 3 year period..
At the end of 2007, the park received an extension for another year, and at the end of 2008, received a further R6 million as a further extension on phase 1. This brought the total grant to R41 million (2004 – 2009).
The second phase of the project received R8 million from which 92 beneficiaries were employed. Phase 2 was initiated in November 2009 and concluded in June 2012.
Forest Rehabilitation Programme
The TMNP Forest Rehabilitation Programme aims to protect, restore and expand the Afromontane Forests of the Peninsula.
Table Mountain Fund and SAPPI
Medicinal Herb Garden
National Lotto Company
Seven seed collectors, employed from disadvantaged communities, have been trained in seed collecting, germination and propagation.
Seeds are collected locally in order to preserve genetic integrity. Once collected they are germinated in the nursery at Newlands. Seedlings are planted out once they are around 15 cm tall because they are more likely to adapt to ecological challenges than established trees. Trees are planted in groups or nurse stands – in forester’s jargon this is referred to as “trees growing trees”.
The seedlings are planted in smallish holes and watered just once - the rest is up to the tree and climatic conditions - this ensures that forest rehabilitation is as close to the natural process as possible.
Country-wide this type of forestry is still very much in a research phase.
Within the first five-years (2000-2005) 35 000 seedlings were planted in degraded areas of Newlands and Orange Kloof. In time the project will be rolled out to other areas in the TMNP
The Gap Management Project started in 2004 and aims to manage the felling of big forest trees (mostly alien) in order to minimize damage to the forest canopy if a large tree with an expansive crown falls naturally. Specialist felling is followed by intensive site rehabilitation.
The six staff, originally from the Chrysalis Academy, have been trained in arboriculture, advanced chainsaw skills and business management. Once their training is complete they will be well qualified to market their skills on the open market.
There are around 360 alien plants in Newlands forest alone, most of them invasive. These aliens are garden escapees such as Chinese Privet and Eugenia and pose a real threat to the natural diversity of the forests. In order to stem this deadly tide of growth 10 individuals from the Hangberg Community in Hout Bay have been recruited and trained to specialize in alien clearing in forested areas. This includes the ability to distinguish between alien and indigenous seedlings.
It is illegal to harm any indigenous flora in the TMNP but the Park is surrounded by a huge community of traditional users from Rastafarians and herbalists to healers and sangoma’s.
A creative solution to the tension that exists between conservation initiatives and traditional use of plant and tree species is obviously required.
So in a project run in consultation with leaders in the Traditional Healer’s Association of the Western Cape the TMNP has begun work on a medicinal herb garden on the terraces near Rhodes Memorial. Trainees are attending workshops and are involved in all aspects of preparing and attending the garden and doing practical infield training in topics such as soil stability, germination, propagation, germination and sustainable harvesting.
TMNP extends a heartfelt thanks to the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) for donating plants and sharing their knowledge.
In 1999 the TMNP started a klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus) reintroduction programme. This tiny antelope had been hunted to local extinction in the 1930’s.
The first introduction of 19 animals was into the enclosed Cape of Good Hope section of the Park in 1999. This population has settled down well and has begun breeding.
The second release was the historic reintroduction of the klipspringer onto Table Mountain and Klawer Valley in October 2003.
CapeNature donated 25 klipspringer to TMNP and the Table Mountain Fund (TMF) funded VHF radio collars and a master’s study.
- 9 released onto the Back Table, 3 with VHF radio collars
- 13 released into Klawer Valley, 3 with VHF radio collars
- 3 released into Cape of Good Hope
Then in October 2005 CapeNature donated a further 10 klipspringer to the TMNP and the TMF came on board again and funded with more sophisticated GPS collars that are more suited to the mountainous terrain.
The klipspringer reintroduction programme is the subject of a master’s study and further reintroductions are currently being considered.
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