Flora – Alien clearing

The remainder

The farm, excluding the game reserve and the developed sections and titles, has a size of close to 100ha of which 43ha are arable land. Of these 34ha is planted under vines and the rest is grass land. Then there are 5ha of paddocks and 8ha of dams of which the main dam is 7.2ha. There is also 6.1km of windbreaks making up 12ha. The other two areas of botanical / environmental value are described in further detail in the chapter on ’Protected areas – Herbarium’. These two areas together have a rough size of 15ha. The rest of the land is basically small pockets in between the above mentioned areas.

ha % Area
34 36% Under vines
9 9.5% Cultivatable land
5 5.3% Paddocks
8 8.4% Water storage / dam
12 12.6% Wind breaks
15 15.8% Protected area
12 12.6% Other land
95 100%

The Game Reserve

The upper part of portion 6, almost the entire land of portion 5 and big parts of portion 3 Knorhoek belong to the Game Reserve and were initially overgrown with alien vegetation. A fire in 1997 destroyed large parts of what was originally cultivated with pines for the paper industry (upper section of portion 6). After the fire the land, some roughly 17.5ha, was kept clear and now mainly comprises Mesmic mountain fynbos. Portion 5 and portion 3 of Knorhoek which had uncontrolled infestation of gum trees, pines, Port Jackson, Hackia and others was systematically cleared making the total area cleaned about 68ha. Big parts (~53ha) of the Game Reserve encompass grassland for game. It mainly consist of Eragosites curvulu and Kikuyu couch grass. This grassland is maintained.

Recently three further portions of Knorhoek have been purchased and are planned to be included in the Game Reserve. Portion 15 with about 20 ha, portion 20 with 41ha and portion 21 with 19ha. This makes the total area designated to the Game Reserve including all six single title deeded properties about 214 ha. With these new portions great areas are cleared of invasive vegetation. Portions 20 and 21 situated just below the Hottentots Holland mountain range to current knowledge have never been cultivated. Portion 15 has considerable amounts of grass land originally used for cattle farming are now to be use for the game. Portion 15 has about 7.5ha of invasive vegetation that need clearing. Due to the problematic position of its growth on the banks of the Sir Lowry’s River this will be done in sections. Although the areas and hectares quoted in this report are measured and registered sizes of the properties, they do not reflect the real sizes including valleys and hills which makes the effective area to be cleared about 15-20% greater than shown on aerial maps and photos. Commencement on clearing has started on portions 15 and 20 and is partly done by contractors and farm employees. Cost of clearing by the contractor is at R17 425 per ha and cost for clearings on portion 15 is estimated to not be far less than the clearings on portions 20 and 21. The total cost of clearing will then add up to about R1mil. Earlier clearings of portions 5 and 3 have cost about another R800k.

The method of clearing is cutting, felling and the application of herbicide. From a methodological point of view the little indigenous veld that is there is 8-10 years old and has had sufficient time to recover for a bum. Where appropriate, block burning will take place and where too risky, stack burning will be done. These follow up operations of burning are estimated to cost about 15% of the initial clearing costs when stacks are burned and could amount to another R100 000 or more. Other follow up operations such as weeding and follow up of alien cleaning can be done by the reserve workers on an annual basis. R20 000 – R30 000 for these actions need to be taken into consideration annually – although over time (up to 20 years) these costs would decrease. It is also dependant on the circumstance that neighbours clear their aliens and no re-germination can be expected from bordering properties.

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