The bird hide in Belvidere is not often frequented, less so the small indigenous forest which was totally overgrown with alien invaders. Two dedicated Belvidere residents, Hannelie Kemp and Michael Brewis have taken it upon themselves to rehabilitate this area hoping to create a mini arboretum. They want to create a place of peace and tranquility, a place that is populated with local indigenous trees, a place of magical walkways covered with rustic wooden arches linking the two areas that they are rehabilitating.
The fire of 2017 destroyed most of the small forest, leaving behind charred tree stumps with only a few living trees intact. Now 2 years after the event, pioneers have emerged, but alas also alien invasive species. The most problematic invader is Tradescantia fluminenis which is smothering all the little indigenous plants on the forest floor. Other nasties are Phytolacca octandra and Solanum mauritianum.
Slowly but surely Hannelie and Michael are making progress, creating pathways, planting indigenous trees and removing alien species. The felled tree stumps are now home to a many fungi, they will slowly decompose the stumps into valuable nutrients that will feed the soil.
Indigenous trees of the southern Cape were sourced far and wide, with the more unusual ones now taking prominent space along the walkways. This labour of love is taking up many hours of hard labour, both by Hannelie, Michael and their gardeners. The entire project is funded by themselves. We salute these two dedicated people who are making a positive contribution to the restoration of the Belvidere forest.