Conservation

Conservation

Code of conduct

The MCSA(Magaliesberg Sections) tries to instil a code of conduct in its members by having them sign a Code of Conduct on becoming members. It is suggested that all members remind themselves of this document and consult it from time to time. (link)


MCSA Properties; Magaliesberg & Johannesburg Sections:

The Magaliesberg Section and the Johannesburg Section jointly own or co-own kloofs in the Magaliesberg and elsewhere, bought over many years for access and conservation. The properties are managed as nature reserves. They are used exclusively for hiking, rock climbing and in a few places, kloofing. There are no facilities on most of the properties

Magaliesberg: Mountain wilderness land with kloofs, streams, waterfalls; no facilities, and only few paths.

MCSA-owned: Tonquani Kloof, Grootkloof, Seremodi Kloof & Mhlabatini

Co-owned: Castle Gorge (31% undivided shares) administered by the Johannesburg Hiking Club as co-owner

Management & patrolling in exchange for access: Dome Kloof

Kransberg: Two adjacent co-owned properties NE of Thabazimbi in the Kransberg, bordering on the Marekele National Park. The northern property includes the south facing rock climbing cliffs. Hiking is possible on the southern property. No facilities available.

Waterval Boven: MCSA land, excellent rock climbing area. Camping on neighbouring Tranquilitas Camping area.

Wilgepoort: MCSA land, prime rock climbing cliffs; car camping is possible (long drop and fireplace) and there are a few day hike variations.

Wolkberg Hut: Small area with hut built many years ago, administered by the Johannesburg Section.

THE MAGALIESBERG PROPERTIES OF THE MCSA:

A. Conservation of the Magaliesberg as a whole:

1. The Magaliesberg Protected Environment (MPE):

One of the objectives of the MCSA is to initiate and support actions towards protecting the natural beauty and wilderness character of mountains and to promote their effective conservation management. The MCSA has been instrumental in the proclamation in 1977 of the Magaliesberg Nature Area which changed name in 1994 to the Magaliesberg Protected Natural Environment (MPNE) and is now known as the Magaliesberg Protected Environment (MPE) (Declaration document) Link.

The MPE, incorporating mainly the central core of the range, stretches from Rustenburg to Pretoria. It is now additionally protected by the Environment Management Framework (EMF) that was gazetted in March 2009 by the North West (NW) Province Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism (DEDECT). Any proposed development must be submitted to the NW Province authorities and is subject to Environmental Impact Assessments and restrictions. The whole of the Magaliesberg (except Kgaswane Nature Reserve near Rustenburg) is privately owned. The protected area is quite narrow – only 4-5km wide on average. The effects of the developments that are now crowding against the boundary is noticeable on many levels, one being the encroachment of alien invasive plants into the core area from adjacent farms and settlements, carried in by wind, birds and people. (See Alien Invasive Plants below).

2. Magaliesberg Protection Association (MPA):

The MCSA (Magaliesberg Section) is a founder member of the Magaliesberg Protection Association. The Magaliesberg Protection Association's objectives are to foster and encourage the preservation of the Magaliesberg and to advise the authorities and others on matters of policy and planning in so far as it affects the Magaliesberg. Any individual or voluntary organisation that supports these aims can join the MPA.

3. Magaliesberg Biosphere (visit their website >>)

The initiative to create a Biosphere reserve in the Magaliesberg region was started a number of years ago. The application to form a Biosphere has to comply strictly with proper procedures and protocol regarding provincial and national involvement. A biosphere can only be proposed to UNESCO by the national government. The Magaliesberg region falls within two provinces each of which is responsible for the management and protection of the Magaliesberg Protected Environment. 80% of the MPE fall in the NW Province, the rest in Gauteng Province. The application to UNESCO has been submitted for a second time in 2014, following the first submission’s failure because not all the parties participated. Having a Biosphere in the Magaliesberg will give additional protection to this unique mountain range.

B. Conservation of the MCSA Magaliesberg properties:

The Sections have a Management Plan [link?] in place to ensure long-term management planning and conservation of these properties. The Land, Access and Conservation convenors of the two Sections are assisted by their Joint Land, Access & Conservation Sub-Committee consisting of members who have been involved in the management and conservation of the properties over many years, to maintain continuity.

The public have access to the MCSA properties via a permit system. The MCSA hereby shares this scarce wilderness resource with everybody, but try to see it that it remains a wilderness as far as possible. The properties are patrolled by members over weekends to ensure that permit holders keep to the permit conditions (see also Code of Conduct) and that trespassers can be given information on how to obtain permits.

Paths:

There are several places on some of the properties, or on servitude paths leading to the properties, where work needs to be done from time to time. Work weekends are scheduled when needed, as part of the management plan. When necessary, expert advice is sought.

Alien Invasive Plant Eradication Programme:

The Magaliesberg and Johannesburg Sections have jointly been taking steps to eradicate alien vegetation, as far as possible, from their properties, and have tried to share the knowledge gained in the practical and theoretical aspects with other landowners.

The Magaliesberg Section has recently published a booklet on the invasive plants in the MPE. It is to be used as a field guide by members and other landowners to recognise and clear the plants manually. The booklet is available from the Magaliesberg Section Administrator or at club evenings. The printing of the booklet was funded by the Richard Watmough Conservation Award for small conservation projects in the Magaliesberg that is awarded annually (insert link to Watmough Fund)  

Since 1999 an annual programme of official joint weeding meets have been implemented and hundreds of members and guests have over the years helped to contain the spread of these plants. But in the same period the number of invasive plants in the core area of the Magaliesberg has increased markedly, with the result that more weeding meets are now necessary each year to cover all our properties. Nine or more official weeding meets per year is necessary. Members are encouraged, when visiting the Magaliesberg, to pull out a weed whenever they see one.

Host specific biological control agents (insects & fungi) are available for a few of the invasive plants, but none of them are effective enough (yet) in the Magaliesberg to allow stopping the eradication efforts. More agents are needed on more of the plants, as ultimately that is the only long-term solution.

All these invasive plants are declared weeds under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) and the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (CARA) and by law therefore have to be removed by landowners. Many landowners in and around the Magaliesberg are either still not aware of the seriousness of the invasions or perhaps do not realise the long-term threat. Infestations on such properties can become too large to manage manually and become sources of seeds spread by wind or birds that then invade neighbouring properties. Work for Water teams can help landowners with clearing of large infestations. (WfW link)

The most threatening alien invasive plants on the Magaliesberg properties:

 

Castle Gorge

Seremodi /Boekenhoutkloof

Dome (Junod)

Tonquani

Grootkloof

Mhlabatini

Crofton

 

Pompom

 

 

 

 

Senna

 

 

 

 

 

Jerusalem cherries

 

 

 

 

 

Lantana

 

 

 

 

Verbena

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bugweed

 

Inkplant

 

 

 

Queen of the night

 

 

 

 

 

We have made a huge difference! We have prevented the MCSA’s kloofs from being totally overrun by these weeds, which could easily have happened!

Thank you everyone!!

 

 

  

INVASIVE PLANTS & OTHER ISSUES ON OTHER PROPERTIES:

1. WILGEPOORT:

Wilgepoort was bought by the MCSA in December 2012. The main part of the property is beautiful grass veld, savannah, forest and river. Unfortunately there already were many invasive plants present in certain areas when the property was bought, and this adds to the already high work load. Most of the problem plants are big trees, so they need a different strategy to most of the weeds in the Magaliesberg, and careful management planning has to be done.

Alien invasive plants present: Australian green and silver wattles, seringa, jacaranda, lantana, eucalypts, bugweed, queen-of-the-night, prickly pear and between the road and the river also poplar, agave, pompom weed, spanish reed and mulberry.

Building a fireplace is becoming very necessary, as people are allowed to make fires with brought-in wood, but it has to be done safely in a contained area.

The water of the river is not safe to drink. There is no other water source on the property and it may be an idea to fit the fireplace with roof to gather rain water in a tank.

2. KRANSBERG, WATERVAL BOVEN & WOLKBERG HUT:

Surveying of invasive plants and other management issues still have to be done for these properties.

Kransberg: As the MCSA ownership % at Kransberg is quite small, some responsibilities also lie with the co-owners. Eucalypts are apparently quite common on the southern property.

Boven: The paths at Boven were expertly repaired in 2013.

Wolkberg Hut: The area around the Wolkberg hut was cleared of pine trees in the past number of years by the Forestry Dept. There is some regrowth but it is being worked on. The MCSA property covers the area just around the hut, so the conservation of the general area is not only the responsibility of the MCSA.

 

More in this category: Search and Rescue »