Cape Parrot Project NEWS 10/2015

October 21st, 2015 | by Abigail de Swardt
Cape Parrot Project NEWS 10/2015
Conservation projects
Spring has sprung and the Cape Parrot Project is preparing for planting and growing season. Over the last few months the teams have been busy clearing alien invasive plants on the edge of the Auckland Forest Reserve (Hogsback) and Wolfriver Forest (iZingcuka) and these two sites are now ready for planting.
Its been an uphill battle fighting American Bramble (Rubus cuneifolius) that keeps popping up and Blackwood (Acacia melonoxylon) whose tough bark means hours stripping it off but with constant monitoring and follow up we are winning. The project now has just less than 10 000 trees in storage, split between holding in Hogsback and community micro-nurseries.
Outeniqua Yellowwood

Outeniqua Yellowwood (c) Cape Parrot Project

Yellowood Seedlings

Wild Olive (c) Cape Parrot Project

Wild Olive

Yellowwood Seedlings (c) Cape Parrot Project

Unfortunately not all can be planted this season as some are too small and might not survive the cold winter months to follow.The great news is that germination efforts continue to produce new trees for future planting seasons. After a dazzling thunderstorm last night inspection of germination trays this morning revealed over 20 little Yellowwoods pushing their way through the soil. These will be transplanted into individual bags and nurtured until big enough to plant out.

Project history and its aims

The Cape Parrot Project aims to link the continued survival of South Africa’s only endemic and endangered parrot to the empowerment of the local communities that surround its’ habitat. The Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) is dependent on the small pockets of remaining afro-montane forests in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces. However, historical harvesting of yellowwood (Podocarpus/Afrocarpus sp.) trees and present degradation of forests from invasive alien plants has left the Cape Parrot with limited sources of food and nest sites.


Cape Parrot Yellowwood

The Cape Parrot feeding on Yellowwood. (c) Rodnick Clifton Biljon


In an attempt to save the Cape Parrot the Wild Bird Trust has started a forest expansion and rehabilitation project in the Hogsback region of the Amathole Mountains working with local communities to create sustainable livelihoods. To date the project is achieving its aim through: using local labour to clear invasive alien plants; creating micro-nurseries for community members to germinate and grow up indigenous tree seeds; sourcing seedlings from micro-and other local nurseries to plant in cleared and degraded areas using local labour.

All community members who are part of the project, from general labour to tree growers, are provided with skills training that will enable them to create a sustainable livelihood for themselves .Our partnerships with the Wildlands Conservation Trust and DEA/DAFF, as well as bringing in an education outreach component to our project, seeks to secure our long-term plan for working closely with the community to help conserve the Cape Parrot.

Text by: Abigail de Swardt, Kirsten Wimberger
Title photo:  (c) Rodnick Clifton Biljon


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