As of today pine trees in the lower Tokai plantation as well as Cecelia plantation will be harvested for timber. The lower plantation is the one most used for recreational purposes, but the area is still a commercial operation after the pine trees were purchased from the government by MTO Forestry and harvested when they reach the appropriate age. According to SANParks, “A company called Cape Timber Resources (CTR) won the state tender to the harvesting rights of the Tokai and Cecilia in these plantations. CTR then bought 75% share in MTO – and the state retained a 25% share. MTO operates across the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces and is the agency doing the commercial harvesting of these plantations.” This hasn’t stopped several Tokai residents from protesting the felling of the pine trees with many calling for Tokai forest to be saved.
This from EWN.
“One resident says the community was assured the trees would only be cut down at a later stage.
“They committed 10 years ago in a signed draft management framework to replant indigenous trees to replace these trees. Now they are talking about completely replacing the trees.”
The same thing happened earlier in the year when trees on the upper plantation were harvested. It was originally scheduled for 2024, but the felling was accelerated due to the massive fire in March.
And it’s not even all the trees hey. It’s a small portion of the entire plantation.
Now you know.
UPDATE 1: some further info.
It has been pointed out that once the pine trees in the lower Tokai plantation are felled they will not be replaced with new pine trees and instead The Tokai and Cecilia Management Framework has provisioned for “the restoration of: sustainable areas of ‘critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos’ and Peninsula Granite Fynbos, ecological corridors, Afromontane Forests, river and wetland systems.”
And give the response on social media it seems that this is what many residents have an issue with…the safety issue related to fynbos. The pine trees apparently provide shade and line of sight for recreational users while the fynbos provides cover for criminals and results in lack of visibility.
There is also a debate around whether the fynbos is an increased fire risk to nearby residential housing.
A group of residents and supporters have appointed a lawyer and are looking for donations to stop SANParks from felling the trees. They have already raised enough to appoint an advocate and have won a 7 day reprieve on felling one section of the plantation.
“We are now in a litigious process. We will be in court next Friday (9 September 2016), represented by a junior and senior Advocate, and our Attorney. EVERYONE is welcome to attend this court proceeding 😊 Details of time and place will be posted next week. To fund this next chapter, Parkscape needs funds to pay our legal team, and those funds are urgently needed. We need to be able to show that we have funds to pay the future costs associated with the legal case. Without this, Tokai forest will come down in the first week of Spring as that process is currently ongoing” [Facebook]