13th December 2021

Alfa supports GreenPop's forest restoration project

Alfa Chemicals Nordic ApS is proud to support GreenPop's Forest Restoration project, planting over 20 trees in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Name of Project: Platbos Forest Restoration Project

Location: Uilenkraal Valley, Overberg, Western Cape, South Africa (GPS: -34.567646, 19.433110)

Project Partner: Platbos Forest Reserve

Explorer.Land Link: https://explorer.land/p/project/ffl-platbos

Project Tree Species:

  1. White milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme)
  2. Wild olive (Olea europaea subsp africana)
  3. White stinkwood (Celtis africana)
  4. White pear (Apodytes dimidiata)
  5. Bladder nut (Diospyros whyteana)

History of Project Site:

The Platbos Forest, one of the few indigenous forests in the Uilenkraal Valley in South Africa, is filled with ancient Milkwood trees, some of which are up to 1,000 years old. An unlikely feature of the landscape, the forest is a ‘botanical mystery’ surviving in deep, sandy, alkaline soil on north-facing, gently undulating terrain. No river course feeds the forest and the relatively low rainfall of the region (600-800mm per annum) is generally not considered sufficient to support a forest. Despite these seemingly unfavourable conditions, this forest remnant contains centuries-old trees, dense coverage and rich biodiversity of flora and fauna.

Over the last century, large areas of the original forest were felled for agriculture and later left fallow, exposing the soil to erosion and allowing for invasion by aggressive alien vegetation which out-competed the indigenous plants and created a serious fire hazard for the forest. Alien invasive vegetation can burn up to 10x hotter than indigenous plants, increase fuel load and aggravate fire intensity making it harder to control and more destructive to indigenous vegetation. In 2006, a devastating fire swept through the Uilenkraal Valley, contributing to the destruction of two ancient indigenous forests near Platbos, one moist kloof forest and one coastal thicket. The legacy of this disturbance is a ‘ragged’ forest edge and a greater surface area exposed to fire and alien vegetation encroachment.

The uniqueness and importance of the Platbos Forest within the Uilenkraal landscape has been recognized by Cape Nature who have awarded it ‘Contract Nature Reserve Status.’ This status ensures that the forest is legally protected for perpetuity.

Project Partner:

The Platbos Forest Restoration Project is a collaboration between The Greenpop Foundation and the Platbos Conservation Trust (PCT). A partner of The Greenpop Foundation since 2011, the PCT will be the local implementing partner for this project. PCT have been working to restore the Platbos Forest since 2008 following significant wildfires in the Uilkraal Valley. To date, they have planted 92,428 trees (77,645 in collaboration with The Greenpop Foundation) and restored and protected 55 hectares of land.

With their team of 6 employed community members, the Platbos Conservation Trust will conduct alien vegetation management, seedling propagation and tree planting for this project. They will co-fund the costs of additional alien vegetation management in the existing forest which is not covered by this project budget.

Project Objectives:

The primary objectives of this project are the restoration of priority forest habitat & the support of sustainable livelihoods. These two goals will be achieved through the following activities:

  1. Assisted natural regeneration (alien vegetation management)
  2. Planting trees (reforestation in areas lacking tree cover)
  3. Employing local community members to carry out restoration activities.