indigenous sustainability

Indigenous Tree Plantations

A research project, solicited and funded by the Water Research Commission and the Dept. of Water Affairs (Working for Water Programme) and led by the CSIR, has been commissioned to investigate rates of water-use and growth within indigenous tree systems.  The main objectives of the project are to improve our knowledge of how much water indigenous tree species use, how efficiently they use that water (e.g. utilisable timber produced per unit of water used) and what potential exists for indigenous tree species to be planted more widely in South Africa.   Over the next 5 years, growth and water-use measurements using specialised techniques (e.g. sap flow and energy balance methods) will be conducted in natural indigenous forests (mixed species / mixed ages) and in indigenous plantations (single species / single age) where possible.

You could contribute to the project!  While the distribution of natural indigenous forests in South Africa is fairly well understood, knowledge of the true extent and diversity of plantations of indigenous tree species in this country is limited, and this is an appeal for additional information.   Details that would be particularly useful include the location (e.g. latitude & longitude) of any indigenous tree plantations, the species (or species combinations) planted, the extent of the plantings (e.g. size of the plantation in ha, or the number of trees planted), the planting density (stems per ha) and the current age of the trees (or planting date).   Your assistance through the provision of this kind of information would be extremely beneficial and highly appreciated, filling a knowledge gap and facilitating the choice of potential research sites available to the project.   All information received will be acknowledged and treated with the strictest confidence.

Please send any relevant information by email to Mr. Mark Gush at

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