The Flower Valley team has found two new alien plant species to the Overberg, while working along the banks of the Klipdrift River in Napier.

And one species in particular is causing concern for conservationists here, due to its ability to invade fynbos and forests.

The Flower Valley Natural Resource Management team is currently assessing and mapping the extent of invasive alien plants along the banks of the Klipdrift River in Napier. The Trust was tasked to undertake the assessment and mapping by the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency, lead agent for water management in the Overberg.

The plan is to ultimately compile a strategy to clear the invasive alien plants from the Klipdrift riparian zone, once the extent and costs are understood.

To date, our Alien Clearing Project Manager, Stanley Engel, and Extension Officer, Mitch Afrika have worked with wonderful Napier landowners to gather the information.

But it was during this process that Stanley and Mitch came across two NEW alien plants.

1. Acacia elata (Pepper tree wattle), is native to Australia and grows to 12 – 18m tall. It occurs in South Africa, but we don’t know of other records of it as an invasive in the Overberg as yet.

It’s a concern because it’s a fast-growing, long-lived species known to invade fynbos and forest clearings. It’s spread by ants, birds, wind and water, and can also travel in garden waste and contaminated soil transportation.  

It’s a NEMBA Category 1b invader.

2. Angophora species (we believe it’s Angophora costata, also known as Sydney red gum, as identified by our friends at the South African National Biodiversity Institute).

 

This is also an Australian native medium-sized tree which grows to about 30m tall. This species is not naturalised in South Africa (and is not yet listed under NEMBA as an invasive species), but is part of the Myrtle family.

 

The Klipdrift River feeds into the Kars River, which ultimately feeds the Heuningnes River. This leads to the Heuningnes estuary on the De Mond Nature Reserve, which is a Ramsar wetland site (signifying wetlands of international importance). The river is also the source of Napier’s leiwater.

But the Klipdrift River is heavily infested by invasive plants. It’s hoped this process will help raise awareness around the importance of this river.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust

Natural Resource Management: Alien Clearing Programme

When fynbos is picked sustainably, you not only protect the fynbos kingdom for future generations, you also protect the livelihoods of those who harvest it. 

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