KNYSNA NEWS – “A recent survey throughout the Knysna burn scar showed that there is very positive indigenous plant regrowth to be found throughout the landscape. With favourable rains in the Knysna area, coupled with an early spring and longer daylight hours, Fynbos is making a strong comeback. Known to be dependent on cycles of wildfire for regeneration, the Fynbos in the area no doubt benefitted from the 2017 Knysna fire disaster,” says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI).
Conservationists across the country shared concern on the damage caused by the intense wildfires that ravaged the Knysna countryside in June 2017.
Chased by extremely strong winds and fuelled by dense stands of invasive alien biomass littering the countryside, the wildfire that swept through areas such as Buffels Bay, Brenton and Rheenendal was intensely hot, reaching several thousand degrees centigrade.
In most places, all that remained in terms of vegetation, was barren sand. There were serious concerns expressed that, because of the intense heat which was generated, the Fynbos seed bank, hidden in the topsoil, might have been completely destroyed, along with vital nutrients and insect life.
According to Meiring, a further concern was that denuded landscapes would be completely covered by a wave of invasive alien plants, which are known to outcompete indigenous plants, such as Low-land Fynbos.
A recent survey throughout the burn scar, however, showed that there is very positive indigenous regrowth to found throughout the landscape. With favourable rains in the Knysna area, coupled with an early spring and longer daylight hours, Fynbos is making a strong comeback.
Suppressing invasive alien growth yields positive results around Knysna
“The herbicide assistance programme rolled out on selected properties by the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association (SCFPA), and sponsored through Nedbank and WWF SA, provided assistance to the respective landowners to very effectively stemmed the growth of invasive alien plants, allowing indigenous plants to flourish,” says Meiring.
In addition, the fire gave landowners a clean slate in terms of vegetation types on their land, and an opportunity to gain the upper-hand in dealing with invasive alien plants such as wattle, blackwood and Rooikrans.
The Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) is a public platform and think tank for landowners and land managers with an interest in invasive alien plant management, water stewardship and land management. SCLI is supported by the Table Mountain Fund (TMF), a subsidiary of WWF SA