Thursday, December 4, 2008

ALIEN INVADING PLANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA

A difference through eco design by Lucy and Isa
Recycled Handmade Paper Sheet With Fiber Inclusions Of Black Wattle Tree, An Alien Invasive Plant In South Africa

In my first article I mentioned that we use the pulp of shredded office paper to create beautiful recycled luxury paper and paper products. In this article I would like to talk about a very important aspect in conserving and protecting our beautiful South African landscapes - namely contributing to the necessary eradication of alien invading vegetation.
A great deal of South- Africa's water is used by plants that do not belong here. They are called alien invading plants.These plants are invasive because they spread and displace our natural trees and plants.

They have already invaded large areas of good agricultural land and some of our most scenic areas.

Where do alien plants come from? Many invading plants were brought into South-Africa for practical purposes such forestry plantations. And these plants grow so well in South-Africa because they have no natural enemies such as insects and diseases that would have controlled them in their own countries.
But not all invading plants are harmful. Oak trees, bottlebrush, azaleas and most fruit trees are aliens that do not spread aggressively. Certain pines are important forestry trees that are grown in special.They are used for the production of paper and wood products, saving our local trees.
Some trees considered alien in South-Africa are:
Black wattle, Silver wattle, Blackwood Pines, Eucalyptus, Syringa, Bugweed, Castor-oil Plant and many more.

Alien invaders are problematic because of the following reasons:
* They use a lot of water
* They prevent rainwater from reaching rivers and deprived people and ecosystems of much
needed water. Many springs have already dried up because of invading alien trees.
* They displace indigenous plants
* Large areas of South Africa have been ingested with invading alien plants. They destroy
precious vegetation such as fynbos in the Western Cape
*They cause devastating fires
*When invading trees burn, the flames can be up to 15 m high, often destroying houses and
damaging the soil.
*Invading alien plants grown in denser stands than natural shrub preventing firefighters from
putting out a fire
*They cause soil erosion
*Fires in invading alien vegetation are more intense than those in natural vegetation resulting in
damage to the soil
*With the first rains the soil is then washed into the rivers, causing the rivers and damns to fill
up with sand

There is a project in South Africa called " The Working for Water Programme communication Project" that encourages and promotes the following measures:
*Getting informed about plants that are classified as alien invasive plants and looking out for
invading trees and plants in you area and cutting them down
*Planting indigenous trees and shrubs instead
By clearing invading alien vegetation water supplies are improved and it will not be necessary to build so many dams, which in turn saves money. It prevents fires and erosion and protects our local plants and trees.
Lucy and Isa helps by reducing the alien invasive vegetation and uses the fibres of different species. We contribute on a small level to improve the water supplies.

A DIFFERENCE THROUGH ECO-DESIGN
The Lucy and Isa production line starts with the boiling and mashing of wattle bark or other invasive trees in a three-legged iron pot. The wood of the trees that have been harvested serves to fuel the fires of the iron pots. Smaller shredded particles of the bark are mixed with the pulp made from waste office paper.

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