The Media The controversy...(letters in press)
To be clear - we all care about Biodiversity & FYNBOS. The people of cape town WANT a shaded outdoor recreation environment as well not just a tree lined walkway which is basically what SANPARKS want.
The forests occupy less than 1% of the TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK which was handed over to SANPARKS just a few years ago! It has been OBSCENELY unfair what has happened. SANPARKS DID NOT TELL THE FULL STORY AND ITS PLANS FOR THE PARK TO THE PUBLIC! This is a classic example of a government machine that steam roll's through its plans absolutely irrelevant of democratic public input. A kind of Tyranny and in the same way that Chapmans peak got a Toll road TOTALLY against the people of cape town and Hout Bay - so it is with the FYNBOS BRIGADE and SANPARKS how they have crushed public needs and pushed through policy despite promises made in the beginning. There has been immense misrepresentation. After the Round Table meetings - which was a brilliant idea of Mayor Zille to get the opposition groups talking - It was clear at the time that the professor would just initiate the process of talking as he had a trip to do (As I recall) - No consensus had bean reached! - Almost immediately
when the meetings started -
this appeared in the Argus Newspaper saying a WIN WIN BREAKTHROUGH had occurred! This article is now famous for being the biggest load of HOGWASH! There was no Agreement, - Nobody could believe what they reading when they saw this article. The typical rubbish that has been ongoing with this problem! In truth - the meetings had only started and heads of agreement / disagreement had not even been established yet and the round table meetings were quite literally warming up !
Table mountain national park is a Bio-reserve AND A PEOPLES PARK and deserved to get a fair input from the public. There was no input. To be clear,- The public participation process happened AFTER decisions were already made !!! The public process should have happened BEFORE! What's the point of a public participation process after policy is decided !
Did you know that most of our big shade trees in the western cape are ALIEN! - Yes - on your next drive notice that even on the sides of the road they are pine and Oak and even almost all small holdings have a big Eucalyptus tree or too making them habitable from the blistering heat and wind!
CAPE TOWN NEEDS FOREIGN SPECIES AND NEEDS FORESTS!!
Do you enjoy mountain biking in the shade of the forests?
Horse riding ? walking ? Mushroom Picking? A picnic in the shade with your friends family - Disappearing OAK TREE'S...Before after
The same place - Before - after.
Do you need an ESCAPE from the heat and wind? Taking out your buddy for a walk (Dog) in the shade where its safe from heat stroke ?
Well soon its NO MORE! Its over! There will be no more shade to mountain bike, walk, escape the south Easter.. If you care then you urgently need to fight for these forests - talk to your councilor/ The Mayor and get letters back in the press! The situation is actually a big smack in the face for civil society - we are talking about ...now less than 1 % of the park!!! A tot of history of TABLE MOUNTAIN SANPARKS,. ...Round about 2000/ 2003
Table mountain is not just a Bioreserve,- its much more - Its the Soul of Cape Town. Most people here are aware of nature conservation & threatened species and Fynbos! There was a big controversy about whether or not the western cape, - Cape town should hand over their crown Jewel, Table mountain to SANPARKS with their administration in Pretoria - so far away. Would SANPARKS understand how to manage a park that is both an urban park and nature reserve ?
Table mountain - Meet your FUTURE
click this picture below!!
They are now currently removing non invasive alien species - Oak, Stone pine and even INDIGENOUS YELLOW WOODS
They have remove trees that took w whole generation to grow.
This is vandalism not conservation READ CAPE TIMES 2010 - a view that summarizes the feelings of MANY !!
The ORIGINAL PROMISE - BROCKEN - See the LIES AND DECEIT
And its not just the forests ...but its an obsessive campaign removing shade!
Popular areas of Oaks and plantation forests (Tokai) BEFORE AND AFTER!
illegally ring barked Oak tree
TOKAI FORESTS - BEFORE AND AFTER
Even massive old OAK TREES have been killed! (that took 50 -80 years to grow - more ??)
These tree stumps on table mountain near the cable car were ...once upon a time....places where you could rest in the cool dappled shade - Now they are gone,- the result of the MADNESS of an anti-alien campaign that has no boundaries -driven by zealots and fanatics.
Precious Cape town shaded view points. Today they are dry and tree stumped and boiling in the heat and useless!.
"TREE RAPE" Hout Bay cape town area
Misleading campaign..."normal" "cycle" of forestry.... when forestry had already been terminated.
The legendary Constantia nek forests walk! GONE!!
Lions head and many other places - notice there is NO REPLANTING~!
A tree disappearing act - notice its all quietly going!
Look around when in cape town almost ALL of our big trees are foreigner species!!
Click to read
Cape Town NEEDS MORE TREES and NEEDS big tree real FORESTS PARKS...not just little lined walkways!
These are pictures in camps bay,- there were massive trees removed above ...any relationship here ?
The picture to the left has been running for so long that the tarmac is actually being eaten away - A river is forming!
The Latest...JAN 2010
NOW OLD OAK TREES are "ALIEN INVADERS" (yes - believe it!!) THE LATEST:- now its KILLING THE OLD OAK TREES!!
GALLERY & SLIDE SHOW (coming up soon) ).
Politics (isn't it always?. The background cash)Tree, Forest and Fynbos Myths
Urban Forest Protection Group
The greatest cities in the world have huge parks with big trees! With our South Easter and blistering hot summers...not a bad thing!
Parks with big old trees. .Trees,.....what a blessing...you cant build them...you inherit them....sometimes over decades of growth.
Look at Richmond Park and Hyde Park of London ....Look at Central Park...of New York. MIRACLES for big city's to have these massive...parks ...some with forests!! (see pics on this site)
Here in Cape town many want our park to be nothing but Fynbos and after much fighting ....we have lost and now its pretty much goodbye - we will have in the future a few miserable "shaded walkways" (read below)
There are no trees in Fynbos! Look carefully as you drive around cape town and the western cape and notice that we have very few trees - in some areas NONE!! They are a critical part of any city. Take a drive to the Mitchell's plain, Malmsbury, Grassy park and notice what you see is shade-less bleak brightness. Drive along Devaal - notice almost ALL trees are foreigner species. Explore this site and see the tragedy that is unfolding. We are all very aware of ALIEN INVADERS but the BIO-FUNDAMENTALISTS in SOUTH AFRICA have grotesquely driven this fact to obscene levels. Here in Cape town they would like to see all of the mountain (and maybe even certain suburb and park areas) devoid of alien species. Even Oak and Poplars have been destroyed in areas where they are critical park/ shade trees and cannot invade / contaminate Bio-sensitive areas.
Notice Kloof nek into camps bay -no trees are being replanted. Notice the drive into cape town...Trees are aging and will die.
Thanks to all of you that have tried so hard to fight for a wonderful outdoors refuge that was promised to the people of cape town. The promise sort of fizzled out and was broken.
READ THIS,- Depot of Water affairs and forestry/ Sanparks public statement. Urban forests protection group is now closing down - we have tried & real sincere attempts were made by the Mayor of Cape Town to help solve this conflict in a series of meetings headed by Professor Fuggle of UCT. Its over now and we believe we were misrepresented many times in the media. For example - It was announced in the Argus that a "win win" breakthrough had occurred and everyone was "delighted" with these meetings.
This is not true. There was NO HAPPY PEOPLE WHO SAW A WIN WIN SITUATION EXCEPT THE BIO-FUNDAMENTALIST!
The meetings did not even conclude to a heads of disagreement / agreement.
We were hoping that the people of Cape Town would still have a some kind of URBAN FORESTS PARK.
Its not going to happen.
Here's where we stand today.
We have lost and all attempts to dialogue with Sanparks have amounted to little.
The public of Cape Town will have to now appeal to the Minister, Sanparks, and the City of Cape Town.
If you feel strongly about this,- please write directly to the minister / Mayor and CC to newspapers and please CC us too!
Its up to YOU - now. Every letter counts.
CAPE TOWN NEEDS A REAL URBAN FORESTS PARK...WITH ONGOING FORESTRY AS A SECONDARY FUNCTION TO A FOREST PARK FOR THE PEOPLE,-
WRITE TO THESE IMPORTANT PEOPLE - DO IT NOW!!!!
Express your self! Dont be shy!
(I have put the emails in this way to protect these people from SPAM!)
WHAT WE THINK ABOUT THE CONCESSIONS MADE BY SANPARKS TO MEET THE NEEDS FOR SHADED RECREATION.
1.A brief resume of the negotiations between SANP and Urban Forest Protection. In 1996 a decision was taken to consolidate State owned land into the Table Mountain National Park. This was formalized in 2005. Originally, when Tokai and Cecilia were entrusted to SANP by DWAF, Ministerial press release stated that for the next 70 years the plantations would “be managed for conservation, timber production and as an outdoor refuge for thousands of nearby city dwellers, particularly previously disadvantaged communities living in the Cape Flats area.
This was subsequently changed, without consultation, to the present 20 year exit policy whereby, with the exception of a small area around the Tokai arboretum, all the pine trees would be felled for conversion to Fynbos as they reach merchantable age.
This drastic change caused consternation among the public who value the plantations as a shady areas for walking, mountain biking and horse riding and a company, Urban Forest Protection, was formed to channel protest, compromise suggestions and discussions with SANP and DWAF and the consultant appointed to draw up a draft management plan .Over 2000 signatures protesting the change were obtained in one brief survey. Despite concessions made for a reduced area of plantation none of the proposals were acceptable to SANP who were insistent that the biodiversity aspect was of paramount importance. Instead to accommodate the request for shaded recreation two proposals have been included in the draft management plan
(I) shaded walkways for a few selected footpaths a belt of indigenous trees would be planted on either side of the paths.
(ii) transitional plantations. In part of the lower portions of Tokai and Cecilia after the felling of the original pine stands, the logging slash will be burnt to stimulate Fynbos regeneration, when the Fynbos reaches maturity (8-12 years) pine seedlings are planted in the Fynbos, when these reach 20 years and have suppressed the Fynbos the pines are felled and the process is repeated.
These proposals have never been debated but this so-called accommodation of the needs for shaded areas have been generally accepted by the public. It is our opinion that they are basically flawed and in fact impractical for the following reasons:
(1) shaded walkways. If trees for planting on either side of the paths are limited to indigenous species or species that are endemic to the TMNP it may be difficult to find species that are large enough to provide adequate shade. During the winter the NW winds off the mountain develop a venturi effect are likely to cause wind throw on these isolated strips of trees.
(ii) transitional plantings. There are several major problems with this proposal.
1.burning a section, say 40ha,of plantation slash on relatively steep slopes surrounded by either mature Fynbos or an area with pine trees and suppressed Fynbos will be dangerous and difficult to control and the danger of a runaway fire high.
2.establishing young pines in mature Fynbos without large clearing around the trees will be expensive and unlikely to be successful.
3. even when the pine trees are large enough to cast sufficient shade to suppress the mature Fynbos the result will be a tangle of half dead Fynbos unsuited to walk through and in no way provide an alternative to the existing condition of pleasant shade under large trees which provide a park like atmosphere.
Of concern is the probability that in 20 years time when it is found that these proposals are not practical it will be too late to go back to an alternative of keeping sections of existing plantation.
It is important that these proposals be debated before accepted in the final management plan.
Urban Forest Protection
Click here to see the Original promise to the people of Cape town
(The details on the transfer of the Tokai & Cecilia forests to Sanparks.)
Many pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.
THE CAPE TOWN FORESTS
black sparrow hawk
How Cape Capetonians were misled in the beginning about the forests being removed.
What was in fact the closing down of the forests was represented as "NORMAL HARVESTING CYCLES". PUBLIC MISREPRESENTATION
SANPARKS held them literally in the 11th hour!
To late and now! It seems like its over. The forests are going.
The forests now occupy less than 1.5 % of table mountain! Most major cities have a central park where the public are also considered. We acknowledge that biodiversity is a critical world issue but the park is in the center of a large and growing city. New York did it with central park as London did it with Richmond and Hyde park. A park for the people is critical.
Fynbos is not the most user friendly environment for a peoples park!! We acknowledge it as a critical biosphere but people and culture do matter too! and the amount of land designated for the people as a shaded / wind free/ environment is tiny! We are all for Fynbos but certainly there is a place for public recreation in a shaded and more user friendly environment.
But why were the DWAF promises ignored ?
Constantia nek is now gone and the rest of our foreigner tree forests
and beautiful shady walks will follow...
Cool and shady escapes that the people of cape town have enjoyed for over a century will be removed.
Its not just the forests but harmless non invasive's have also got the AXE or ring barked...
XENOPHOBIA IN SA the classic Constantia Nek forest walk before and after
Time for quiet walk....one of those magic overcast days in Cape Town....when the mists come in....and a forests Stream. Moss covered rocks and your best buddy!
Alien trees 99% of the cape!
Start thinking about it.....Most of our big trees here are alien.
Should it ALL to be FYNBOS ?In Principle this site is about a new kind of Fanaticism, not just against our foreign species forests, but it seems against all alien/ foreign species... Its not a new thing...It appears there have always been fanatic zealots ....see extracts from the book TABLE MOUNTAIN OUR NATIONAL HERITAGE published 1951
21st centaury MODERN THINKING...In the UK - where Conservation, farming, heritage all meet with modern user friendly nature conservation.