Situated in the Baviaanspoort Hills on the Grootbos Road between Stanford and Gansbaai, just 40 minutes from Hermanus, Platbos – Africa’s Southernmost Forest is a ‘relic’ forest that’s survived increasingly dry & harsh conditions through an innovative growth adaptation.
Unlike most forests where trees stand apart, the species of Platbos grow intertwined in close-knit clumps. Seedlings sprout from ‘nurse trees’ whose fallen trunks become sources of moisture and nutrient-rich humus as they slowly decay. This process of “facilitation”, a phenomenon normally observed in communities of desert plants, affords the forest increased resilience against adversity. Old trees nurture and sustain younger trees through an underground web of fungi called mycorrhiza that connect the roots of all members of the forest community. ‘Mother trees’ utilize this network to transport nutrients and carbon dioxide to nurture other trees.
OK now that all sounds great right, but why should we care? Well because currently less than 0.56% of South Africa is covered by indigenous forest, and here in the Western Cape this figure is even lower at 0.05%…
Sadly in the past, massive tracts of forest were clear-felled allowing alien vegetation to grown in its place. Invasive and fast burning, these aliens expose the forest and all creatures living beneath its canopy to the risk of fire. To combat this threat and to restore Platbos to its former integrity, a reforestation initiative ‘Trees for Tomorrow” was implemented through which almost 22 000 indigenous Platbos forest trees have been planted to date.
And what makes this particular forest so special? This video by Green Renaissance will show you exactly why we should be doing everything we can to preserve this beautiful area:
So how can you help? Instead of buying a plastic tree (or cutting down a living one) this festive season, why not pledge R150 towards a regte egte forest tree instead. By supporting #trees4hope you’ll be helping the Trees for Tomorrow initiative with their reforestation programme which will insure that Platbos stays the beautiful forest it is today.
- Sustainable hand harvesting of tree seedlings in Spring from the forest floor
- Two years of intensive nurturing in the forest nursery to produce a strong, healthy sapling
- Long hard hours of hand-clearing invasive, alien vegetation
- The costly process of creating wood chip from cleared invader trees to cool the soil and prevent moisture loss
- Actual planting of the tree, done lovingly by hand during the wet winter season
- On-going maintenance of the reforestation stand until it forms an integral part of the forest canopy
Other ways you can help?
- Take part in the #trees4hope challenge by challenging friends, family and colleagues to match your pledge
- Go and visit Platbos, take a guided walk or spend the night to see this beautiful place for yourself
- Or simply donate what you can
So how do you pledge?
- Directly via EFT:
Platbos Conservation Trust
Nedbank Cheque/Current Account
Account Number: 1820009467
Branch Code: 198765
Use #trees4hope as your reference
- OR via credit/debit card, Payfast here: https://www.payfast.co.za/donate/go/platbosconservationtrust
Then just email your proof of payment, your name and surname or company/organisation and a brief dedication to email@example.com and they will mail you a personalized certificate (plus they’ll automatically enter you into their competition which I’ll tell you about below) Tax invoices are available on request, you just need to indicate whether you require one.
Now here are the details of the amazing competition they’re also running at the moment:* The competition closes at midnight CAT on December 24th and the winner will be announced at noon on Christmas Day. (T&C’s apply) *
So come on guys and girls – let’s all get involved. It really is up to us to preserve this beautiful environment of ours…