Value of Cedar trees celebrated at tree planting event

3 Aug 2022

CapeNature, in collaboration with Just Trees Nursery, hosted an annual Cedar Tree Planting Event in the Cederberg Wilderness Area in mid-July. This forms part of CapeNature’s efforts to re-establish the cedar trees in this region, dating back to 1987.

Historically, the cedar tree was harvested to the brink of extinction locally and considerable effort has been made to prevent its loss. Current threats include climate change and too frequent fires. As part of CapeNature’s commitment, we have partnered with various companies, nurseries, communities and landowners to set up a nursery in the Heuningvlei community where saplings are grown (supplied by Just Trees) and then replanted at tree planting events with the Bushmanskloof and Heuningvlei communities, Just Trees members and the public. A total of 250 cedar trees, grown at the Just Trees Nursery and brought to Cederberg, were planted during the event. The trees are tagged, GPS’d and will be monitored.

Fig.1: The mountain calls: A beautiful clear day and a mountain waiting for the return of the Cedar Trees.

Fig.2: The gathering and welcoming of our partners, members, volunteers and public.

After the welcoming and talks everyone collected the trees they would plant as well as a blue tag (each with a unique number and one for each tree being planted). See Figures 3 and 4. Each tree is tagged after it is planted, which allows the staff to allocate GPS coordinates and go back in the years to come to monitor the tree’s survival and growth.

Fig.3: Collection of the trees.

Fig.4: Blue tags used for monitoring.

One of the great things of the tree planting event is that people of all ages could participate. Participants ranged from young children to adults up to 75 years of age.

Fig 5: Mixed age participants.

Fig 6: Participant.

Fig 7: Volunteers helping with planting. Cedar Trees prefer higher lying, sloped and rocky areas.

Fig 8: Volunteers helping with planting. Cedar Trees prefer higher lying, sloped and rocky areas.

The planting process included the participants walking up the mountain to sites, pre-selected by the CapeNature team as the most suitable sites, preparing the planting area, placing the sapling into the ground, tagging the tree/site and giving it sufficient water to give it a head start. The CapeNature team actively took the GPS points and logged the details for each tree.

Fig 9: Planted sapling with a tag next to it.

Fig 10: CapeNature team, with partners, volunteers, members of public, happy to have participated in the 2022 Cedar Tree planting at Welbedacht, Cederberg Wilderness Area.