SANParks’ recent aerial survey of fire scars around the Garden Route National Park show Harkerville as the most affected area.
The Kranshoek Viewpoint and picnic areas were badly burnt. Area Manager for Knysna, Johan de Klerk, says “the area burnt used to be fynbos islands that turned into thicket because it had not burnt over a few years. The recent fire will turn it back into fynbos.”
The ecological succession will kick in says de Klerk.
There are a few areas where nature will take its course in Knysna:
- The burnt veld near the N2. Although that area is not an indigenous forest, it will also recover naturally as there are seeds on the ground. The only indigenous forests there are close to the N2 are towards the Garden of Eden (Harkerville), small pocket along the Brackenhill area and in Tsitsikamma.
- Residents are encouraged to take ownership of eradicating alien species. SANParks’ Biodiversity Social Programmes (BSP), teams often in yellow and blue can assist and every Municipality is capacitated to assist residents to identify and eradicate aliens in their own property according to the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act. Indigenous trees and plants can be bought at any nursery in the Garden Route.
- Regarding landslides that could end up in the estuary: Follow up meetings suggest there are different soil types in areas surrounding the Knysna estuary. Areas with ‘clay type soil’ like Upper Old Place and Hunters Home and more sandy soil closer to the Coast. Only heavy rainfall will lead to a landslide. SANParks has started liaising with an NGO regarding proposed areas for silt traps for areas of concern.