VERGELEGEN ALIEN VEGETATION CLEARING ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT
BACK TO NATURE
Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West completes South Africa’s largest private alien vegetation clearing environmental project after 14 years
Featured Image by Andrew Brown: Woodcutter Melvin Smit symbolically fells a eucalyptus tree at Vergelegen wine estate, marking the completion of the alien clearing project.
Two eucalyptus trees were ceremoniously felled at Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West this week (25 October) – and the crash that resounded through the picturesque valley marked the completion of South Africa’s largest private alien vegetation clearing project.
A vast area of 2200 hectares of densely packed pine, acacia and eucalyptus
“Today we can finally celebrate the conclusion of a project that has been daunting at times,” said Vergelegen CEO Don Tooth. “It’s involved blood, sweat
“I would like to congratulate every member of the
Honorary guests included Minister Anton Bredell, Western Cape MEC Environmental Affairs, and Norman Mbazima, Deputy Chairman of Anglo American South Africa.
Vergelegen was acquired by Anglo American plc in 1987. The environmental investment forms part of an extensive programme to restore the historic estate and establish it as a showcase of South African heritage, culture, wine
The programme has created many work opportunities in the local Helderberg community. Previously unemployed residents have acquired skills such as brush cutting, hand-picking alien seedlings, chainsaw operation
Now that the clearing and felling of alien vegetation
The natural diversity has also attracted scientists and students and Vergelegen has shared its knowledge and facilities through the establishment of an informal “Centre of Learning Excellence”. To
Ecological treasures on the estate include the re-emergence of 15 hectares of critically endangered Lourensford Alluvium Fynbos and 105 hectares of critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld.
The project has unlocked water resources and restored 80 hectares of wetlands, fed by the Hottentots Holland mountain range catchment area. These form an ideal habitat for birds, amphibians, invertebrates
Vergelegen also conducts monthly bird counts, identifies