SANParks Honorary Rangers: Table Mountain Region lend a hand in supporting restoration of Peninsula Shale Renosterveld
With 77% or the original area of Peninsula Shale Renosterveld lost to urban transformation, farming and alien invasion, the conservation target for this critically endangered vegetation type, which is 25% of its original extent, is unattainable. There is a critical need to expand both restoration knowledge and effort to secure the future of the Peninsula Shale Renosterveld. An experiment, set up in the old Game Camp on the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak in 2012, trialled a number of different actions to trigger a restoration trajectory for Peninsula Shale Renosterveld. Early results showed promise for a variety of interventions including the use of fire, suppression of alien invasive grass, introducing seed of indigenous species, and tilling the soil. The recent fire in June this year presented the first opportunity to see how these various interventions fair into the longer term, with the opportunity to monitor vegetation diversity and cover following a hot burn nine years after setting up the trials.
Pippin Anderson spent much of September in the field with students counting plant species and cover following the fire and is excited to process the data to see what the long-term prospects are for the various interventions. The trial sites are fenced off to keep porcupines and people out and while the fire was useful for the vegetation, it sadly burnt most of the fence posts, resulting in the collapse of the fencing. She was lucky enough to secure the assistance of the SANParks Honorary Rangers: Table Mountain Region who gave over some weekends to hard labour in digging holes, sinking posts, and re-wiring the fences. As a result the field trial is now secure again. A huge vote of thanks to the SANParks Honorary Rangers: Table Mountain Region for their contribution to this research endeavour, and for their role in securing the future of Peninsula Shale Renosterveld. Once she has a sense of what the most effective restoration intervention is following these longer-term outcomes, Pippin hopes to work with SANParks in expanding restoration efforts to other sites which should be under Peninsula Shale Renosterveld across the Park.
SANParks Honorary Rangers: Table Mountain Region helping to secure the fencing around the Peninsula Shale Renosterveld restoration trials in the old Game Camp in Table Mountain National Park (Photos Tony Rebelo)