Latest update from the Lomond Servitude Controlled Burn Area 🙏

From charred earth to pure magic again in the course of 12 months – the resilience of fynbos is truly spectacular.

Below is a complete report by the Grootbos Foundation:

Lomond Wine Estate

Post fire alien clearing in the conservation servitude site May 2023

Plate 1

Project Manager: Grootbos Foundation
Contracting Team: Wesh Construction
Project: Follow up removal of invasive alien plant species in endangered Elim Ferricrete Fynbos and Overberg Sandstone Fynbos, after a controlled ecological burn which was implemented in April 2022.

The Grootbos Foundation received a small grant from the Table Mountain fund to facilitate the follow up alien clearing efforts on Lomond Wine Farm in an area of fynbos which has been signed into a conservation servitude. The site contains both endangered Elim Ferricrete Fynbos and endangered Overberg Sandstone Fynbos and is home to some spectacular botanical diversity (as displayed in Plate 1).

The 17 hectare site was burnt in a controlled ecological burn in April 2022, and had significant regrowth of invasive species such as Acacia saligna (Port Jackson) and Leptospermum laevigatum (Australian Myrtle). The invasive alien plant regrowth within the site had not yet flowered and set seeds, and was still able to be hand-pulled across the majority of the site, therefore not requiring significant herbicide application. The objective of this project was to remove the invasive species to ensure the survival and restoration of the unique fynbos.

The restoration of this site is a conservation priority within the landscape as it is one of the last remnant areas of Elim Ferricrete Fynbos within the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy. Restoration efforts have been conducted within the site over the last five years and include the removal of alien invasive plant species, implementing a controlled ecological burn, and active planting of keystone Elim Fynbos species after the fire.

Joyce, from Wesh Construction, and her team of incredible ladies form part of an alien clearing team which works within the Walker Bay Protected Environment. They have been upskilled to expand their scope of work beyond the removal of alien invasive plant species and have been involved in ecological burns, propagation of fynbos and forest species, trail development and restoration initiatives. The team was deployed in the field on the 25th of April 2023, and spent 10 days in the field conducting follow up clearing efforts. The follow-up alien clearing was conducted using manual removal techniques such as cutting and pulling, in combination with the use of herbicides for more stubborn species. The team worked systematically, clearing the area in a grid pattern to ensure that all invasive species were removed. All alien invasive plant species were eradicated, leaving the site in a pristine condition. The landowner will ensure that annual sweeps are conducted to ensure that the site remains in this condition.

The Grootbos Foundation and the landowners of Lomond Wine Estate would like to thank the Table Mountain Fund and Conservation at Work for the small grant which was able to facilitate the clearing of invasive plant species on the farm. The removal of alien plant species is costly and ongoing, requiring regular follow up. This project has made it possible to support a team of women from the local community, while preserving an area of endangered fynbos, ensuring the conservation of our biodiversity while uplifting local communities.

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