We appeal to residents not to cut or remove burnt standing trees and fynbos that remain after the controlled burn in Kleinmond last month. Even if YOU think it looks ugly and spoil your sea view.
Kleinmond’s environmental officer, Tamzyn Zwigg urges all Hangklip-Kleinmond residents to please refrain from continuing with this activity.
Attached are three photos taken in Lower Beach Road, Kleinmond on 15 October 2019 where residents cut down the burnt vegetation after the controlled burn.
“Your actions can be even more devastating to the rehabilitation of the veld than you realise,” she added
This is why:
The lack of old, dying or burnt vegetation is a major cause of biodiversity loss.
Many species rely on dead or dying trees, logs, and branches for their survival. The removal of decaying branches from the natural veld after a fire can lead to the drastic decline in species such as insects, beetles, fungi, and lichens.
Species relying on this material for food and/or shelter make up a large group of various species in our Fynbos dominated biome.
Some specialist beetles are found in the early stages of wood decay and are followed by predators and scavenging beetles and other insects. Birds and small mammals prey on these insects which are a very important food source for them. Small rodents and birds again assist with seed dispersal of vegetation.
In fact, some species depend on these dead and decaying logs and branches for shelter in these barren burnt landscapes: tortoises, snakes, geckos and lizards, to name but a few. These dead trees and shrubs and the insects, birds, reptiles and small mammals belong together like a braai and boerewors.
Even lichens and fungi are dependent on dead, decaying vegetation. When lichens die, they contribute organic matter to the soil, which further improves the quality of the soil so that more plants can grow. Lichens perform useful functions in nature. They provide shelter for other organisms. They also provide food for animals and materials that they can use to build their homes or nests.
Dead trees and shrubs fill other physical roles as well. As long as they are standing, they create barriers or fences that slow down wind speeds that can cause wind-blown sand and sand erosion. The sand that is trapped around the base of stems helps to capture and hold moisture that saturates the ground providing additional moisture to re-growing trees.
So next time when you see fire-blackened trees or shrubs scattered throughout the burnt landscape, try to view these events in a different light. All will benefit by your change of heart.