SA Forestry magazine, April edition, hits the road today… destined for the post boxes and desks of foresters and key industry players in South Africa and abroad. We’ve compiled a sneak peek of what’s in this month’s mag. Don’t miss out, subscribe now!
In this edition…
• Two recent field days: one organized by FSA and the other part of Focus on Forestry, showcased innovative equipment made in SA specifically for local conditions. These machines are generally tough, simple, nimble and versatile, and complement the purpose-built equipment coming in from the big international manufacturers.
• Fire season: As the fire season approaches in the summer rainfall regions of SA, there is a lot of planning and preparation taking place to ensure there isn’t a repeat of the disastrous fires experienced in recent years. We report on the interesting approach of Montigny, new owners of Swaziland Usutu plantations, at the Focus on Forestry conference. It is also well worth reading Gilbert Plant’s take on combatting fires in plantations. A little unconventional, but extremely practical and helpful for today’s foresters, many of whom are fresh out of college. Gilbert has a wicked sense of humour to go with his extensive experience in forestry, making for an enjoyable read.
• Baboons!! So much has been said about the damage being inflicted on pine plantations in Mpumalanga at the teeth of these fascinating creatures, whose numbers appear to be growing in the forestry belt. Solutions acceptable to forestry stakeholders, environmental NGOs and members of the public have not been found, and until they are, there will be controversy.
We take a look at the issues, the extent of the damage, and suggest a way forward based on a process known as Systems Methodology. In the meanwhile we eagerly await the research reports from the Baboon Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, which will give us insights into what drives baboons to chew the bark of our trees.
The ICFR is also developing a cost-effective method of monitoring baboon damage across the country, and identifying at risk plantations.
• Looking ahead: We’ve engaged ABSA’s agri-business boffin, Deon van Wyk, to give us an overview of the outlook for forestry in 2017 from a marketing/business perspective. Despite the investment status downgrade, it seems we’re still in a business with a bright future.