Over to Hazel! Live from the Working on Fire Media Tour…


Working On Fire tour

The Working on Fire tour took place on September 9, 2015 in Howick, North of Pietermaritzburg.  It was conducted by Tim Sidey, a National Operations Manager for The “Working on Fire” tour

As we were driving past the Marrianhill area in Durban, Tim Sidey showed us dead eucalyptus trees. They were poisoned by the Working on Fire team because eucalyptus is an alien invasive species. The poison kills the tree standing up, so it does not need to be harvested, saving on labour and fuel. He also explained how the Working on Fire team poisons invasive trees in high mountaneous areas, using rope access.

“These trees harm our natural environments and they shouldn’t be there because they are exotics and have been planted commercially in other parts of the country,” said Tim Sidey.

The eucalyptus trees on Marrianhill have actually self-seeded and have never been formally planted.

Our first pit stop was Pietermaritzburg, where the crew was informed about the municipality being a huge landowner in its own right, owning many thousands of hectares of plantations.

Tim Sidey mentioned that not many cities in South Africa will have the same amount of forestry background as Pietermaritzburg has.

“All these plantations are owned by municipalities and are leased out to private forestry companies and they are a huge source of income in this part of the world.”

Bugweed (Solanum mauritianum) and black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) are the worst alien invasive species in the Pietermaritzburg area. They are a major problem to us as a country.

The government-funded programmes Working on Fire, Working for Water and Working for Wetlands all enable land owners to try and curb the spread of alien invasives.

Back to the studio now.

Blogpost by Hazel Nontamo (Environmental Programmes – Biosecurity Unit) – hazel.nontamo1(at)gmail.com
Picture courtesy Hazel Nontamo

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