Good News for Conservation
GOOD News for conservation is that National Lottery funding to the tune of R250 000 has been obtained which will help Haenertsburg manage and conserve its neighbouring afromontane grassland. An additional amount of R20 000 has also been donated by the Botanical Society.
All aspects of the project will be supervised by the Haenertsburg Development Foundation (HADEF), a registered Section 21 company, who will also appoint appropriate consultants to manage the various, specific tasks. The majority of these tasks can be handled by members within the Haenertsburg community who are qualified to do so - these people having agreed to give of their time and expertise at a nominal rate. HADEF will ensure that the resources of the area are developed and managed in ‘an appropriate, acceptable and sustainable manner for the benefit of all its inhabitants’.
As many may know, mistbelt grasslands are breeding grounds for the endangered blue swallow as well as several interesting plant species, amongst these being Aloe lettyae and Scilla natalensis. A 200 hectare grassland lies directly adjacent to Haenertsburg and is said to support over 630 different plant species. The Louis Changion trail traverses the grassland and patches of forest and affords hikers spectacular views. Maps of this 11 km trail are available at the Magoebaskloof tourism office in Haenertsburg.
At present, this grassland has no protection status and several activities detrimental to the ecology of the site are taking place. These include the dumping of rubble and garden refuse, the driving of vehicles, motor bikes and quad bikes off paths and roads and the planting of exotic plants along the perimeters of the grassland.
This grassland may well become another tourist attraction for the area, but a proper conservation effort is needed in order to ensure this. Revenue received from tourism will be ploughed back into the grassland to ensure its maintenance and conservation.