SANParks Determined to Fell Trees without Public Protest

Cape Times (South Africa), December 7, 2006 | Go to article overview

SANParks Determined to Fell Trees without Public Protest


In his letter ("Table Mountain National Park sets trees policy straight", November 20), Brett Myrdal makes several statements that are misleading.

First, while the money applied for by SANParks may indeed not be directly used for felling the plantations, currently many non-indigenous, non-invasive trees are being ring-barked and are to be felled by SANParks at a later date, for example, oaks in Newlands forest and Orangekloof. Park funds will undoubtedly pay for this.

Second, SANParks state they must abide by the terms of the lease between themselves and the logging company, MTO. But the terms of a lease can be changed at any time should both parties agree. MTO have expressed keen interest in continuing commercial forestry in Tokai and Cecilia.

It is well within SANParks' authority as lessors to renegotiate the terms of the lease, and as such reverse the process of felling without replanting.

The extensive public participation process undertaken by the Environmental Evaluation Unit at UCT in 1994 resulted in a three-volume report entitled Policy for Multipurpose Use of the Cape Peninsula. This report makes many recommendations, for example, promoting the use of existing alien forest plantations for recreational purposes, including activities which require shade and shelter from the wind, in keeping with the policy to manage existing alien forest plantations for recreational purposes, and redirecting long-term sawlog contracts to commercial forest plantations outside of the Cape Peninsula.

Clear felling without replanting is never mentioned.

Given their recreational and heritage significance, permanent elimination of Tokai and Cecilia plantations was not even considered in this consultation.

It was certainly not stated to be a desirable option.

What is of interest is that this document is unavailable on the TMNP's website. It should be there as it is the first, and only, detailed public participation process undertaken by highly qualified environmentalists . …

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