Trees for Tourism South Africa Information booklet
The creation offorest ecosystems
Trees for tourismTrees for Tourism (TfT) is a vehicle for tourists, tourism-operators, andother companies and institutions affiliated with the tourism industry inSouth Africa, to counter-balance the tourism-related footprint.To make this work, TfT facilitates the “purchase” by tourists and tourism-related companies of indigenous trees, to be planted out in old woodlandand appropriate degraded areas to re-create pristine forest eco-systems,safeguarded for future generations.By increasing the surface area of existing indigenous forests, re-connectingindigenous forest-remains and creating new woodland in appropriate areas,the Cape’s biodiversity will be made more robust and the Cape’s carbon sinkcapacity will be enhanced, counteracting the effects of climate change.TfT has selected Platbos Conservation Trust as the operator for the selectionand preparation of appropriate reforestation sites, planting of trees anddecade-long maintenance of the sites to protect the juvenile forests fromfire and re-encroachment by alien invasive vegetation.
Key pointsTfT is the facilitating agent. The operations on the ground are the responsi-bility of TfT’s partner Platbos Conservation Trust (PCT). PCT represents morethan 10 years of reforestation experience on different sites and in differentforest habitats. PCT is considered as one of the main authorities when itcomes to reforestation expertise with indigenous trees in the Cape.Trees are planted on secure sites, immune against change of landownershipand protected under the auspices of DWAF (Department of Water Affairs &Forestry).Trees are planted to create a pristine forest-eco system, enhancing both thecarbon sink effect and biodiversity. Trees will live for hundreds of years andthe forests will renew themselves, storing carbon for generations to come.Reforestation will only occur on suitable degraded sites which have beenpreviously cleared from alien invasive trees. No pristine nature will besacrificed and the added benefit is that alien invasive tree-stands will bereplaced by indigenous forest. Reforestation will not take place on landsuitable or earmarked for agriculture and does not collide with food-production.Reforestation sites will be maintained for years to come: it will be protectedagainst fire and alien invasive seedlings will be removed. Maintenance willonly come to an end once the forest has matured sufficiently to be self-resistant against fire and alien invasive vegetation has been fully eradicated.
How it worksTrees can be “purchased” through TfT on an ad hoc basis, on specificcarbon emission and offset basis or on a subscription basis.Upon receipt of a “purchase order”, trees will be planted out in one of theapproved sites during May to September as a function of suitable weatherconditions. This means that trees will be planted out in any case withineight months after receipt of the “purchase order”.Contributors will receive a “Certificate of Donation”, will be listed on theTfT’s website (which will be launched in the winter of 2011) stating thenumber of trees “purchased” and can use the “Certified ReforestationPartner of TfT” logo on their website and further communication or“Verified Carbon Offset Partner of TfT” in the case of linking the footprintof the partner’s transactions with tree planting contracts.Trees planted for a specific partner or contributor can be identified (on apari-passu block basis) and can be visited.The price for a single tree to be planted has been set at R 95 per tree for2011 and 2012. This price includes the purchasing of the respective treesthrough approved indigenous tree nurseries, the preparation of the site,the planting of the trees, the maintenance of the reforestation site for aminimum of 10 years, land-costs, site inspection and approval costs andall related administration costs. TfT is not subsidized.
Once upon a timeOnce upon a time, the indigenous forest cover in the Cape was much biggerthan it is today. In many parts of the Cape, nothing of that forest coverremains but fragments in gorges which are protected from fire and whichwere economically inaccessible.Most of the forests in the Cape were ruthlessly exploited and neverreplanted. Yet, in the soil where they once grew, they will grow again.And this is shown by the forest expansion of the unique Platbos Forest inthe Uilkraal valley in the Western Cape’s Overberg region and thereforestation pilot project to re-connect an area cleared from alieninvasive trees with an indigenous forest remnant higher up in the samegorge in the private nature reserve of farm 215, located in the sameUilkraal Valley on the opposite side of Platbos Forest.Between these two reforestation projects, more than two thousandindigenous trees have been planted during the past 5 years. In these years,essential experience and knowledge was gained to allow for the launch ofa large scale reforestation scheme, which in the future will expand beyondthe two initial sites.The two initial sites have total different characteristics, the one being abotanical mystery : an ancient dry forest in deep sand and Africa’s Southern-most forest and the other a riverine gorge forest. There is little overlapbetween the tree-species in the two reforestation sites in spite of the factthat the two sites face each other from the two sides of the same valley.
Carbon sinkForests are carbon stores and they are carbon sinks (meaning, they takeup more carbon than they emit) when they increase in density or area.Expansion of existing forest eco-systems and establishing virgin forest-ecosystems therefor creates carbon sinks and results in a net positivebalance of carbon captured by the forest.Forest eco-systems do not only store their carbon in the trees itself, (thelive woody tissues) but also to a substantial degree as slowly decomposingorganic matter in litter and soil. Because of this, integral forest-ecosystemsas promoted by TfT are more efficient carbon-sinks than any collection ofplanted trees which is not managed to develop into a pristine forest-ecosystem.Reforestation through TfT does not replace an existing carbon store sincereforestation through TfT will only be contemplated on degraded land whichstores practically no carbon or even releases carbon through advancing soildegradation.The reforestation sites are secure for future generations and safeguardedagainst change of ownership of the land on which the sites are located.The sites are under fire-risk management.
Footprint calculatorFirst this : by the time a tree has reached 100 years of age - it has created6’600 kg of molecular oxygen and as such supplied one person with oxygenfor 20 years; it has drawn 2’500’000 kg of water up from its roots which ithas released through evaporation and as such has been a rainmaker of note.Exactly how much carbon will be stored by the forest eco-system as a(calculatory) result of the planting of one tree and its subsequent lifetime of-say- 100 years (which is conservative: Platbos has trees of 1000 years oldand 400 year old trees dominate the farm 215 gorge forest) depends onnumerous variables, but as a conservative assumption, 2 tonnes may apply(the slowest growing tree in the least favourable part of the forest).A person living in an average household generates 10 tonnes of carbonemissions per year. If the person lives up to 70 years of age, this simplymeans he has to plant 350 trees to be a carbon neutral member of hishousehold.Depending on the nature of your product, transaction and your specificrequirements, TfT can calculate what the respective carbon footprint isand advise you on the amount and time schedule of trees to be planted.Please contact us for this purpose at any time.
The way forwardThe two initial reforestation sites measure 14 hectares in total. Negotiationsare under way to acquire another 20 hectares of land complying with theconditions as defined by both the TfT program and PCT. Contracts have beencompleted for 12’000 trees which will be planted out during 2011.The philosophy of TfT is that the land to be brought under reforestationshould pay for itself. Landowners will receive a certain percentage of themoney paid per tree to make it worth their while. In return, the respectivelandowner will formalize prescribed arrangements within the title-deed infavour of PCT ensuring the protection of the forest eco-system againstchange of ownership and economical use of the respective site. The forestswill be secure for future generations.Tree planting will be done on a high density basis, mimicking the naturalformation of forest eco-systems and forcing the canopy upwards as soon aspossible, speeding up the natural fire-resistance. As a consequence around6000 trees will be planted per hectare. In this decades-to-a-century longprocess of canopy creation, some trees will dominate and other trees willbe crowded out.In order to achieve this ambitious project of planting over 200’000 trees inthe coming years, TfT will actively look for partners in the tourism relatedindustry to create an interactive network with multiple portals feeding intothe genuine “Greening” of the Cape’s tourism industry.Please talk to us if you want to become part of TfT’s network.
An initiative of www.platbos.co.za www.serendipityafrica.co.za www.farm215.co.za