CapeNature Hosts Tree Planting Ceremony in Heuningvlei
CapeNature, in partnership with the Bushmanskloof Wilderness Resort located in the Cederberg Wilderness, recently hosted the Clanwilliam Cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis: Cupressaceae) tree planting event in the community of Heuningvlei. The annual event has been taking place since 2003 to raise awareness of the plight of the Clanwilliam Cedar tree.
The Clanwilliam Cedar
The Cederberg mountains is the only place in the world where the Clanwilliam Cedar grows. The Clanwilliam Cedar is currently listed as an endangered species and the community tree planting event helps to ensure that the species is sustainable for generations to come.
Heuningvlei was selected as the location because the Clanwilliam Cedar tree has the best chance of survival in rocky areas of 900 meters and higher above sea level where the mature trees and seedlings are protected from fire.
On 18 May, conservation stakeholders, local community members, members of the media and general conservation enthusiasts converged to plant seedlings on the rock-strewn mountainside. Special planting methods ensure that the saplings survive the harsh weather conditions, with saplings taking 30 years before they are able to produce any seeds.
CapeNature’s Conservation Manager Rika du Plessis added that the event brought significant awareness to the endangered species.
“This particular tree only grows here in the Cederberg and can only be found in this part of the world. It is endemic to this area. Over 200 years ago you would have found these trees all over the Cederberg, but this number has significantly dropped due to climate change”. – Rika du Plessis.
Over the last hundred years the cedars have been felled by human for use in construction and frequent fires have further ravaged the species and pushed it to the brink of extinction but with the aid of the community and willing partners like Bushmanskloof, there is hope that the Clanwilliam Cedar numbers will continue to increase steadily.