Black Wattle Eradication (Cathcart area)
As part of the Small Town Regeneration Programme of Aspire for the town of Cathcart, the removal of wattle has been identified as a priority intervention.
Wattle is a major alien species that has encroached natural vegetation mainly in the high lying, high rainfall areas. The wattle encroaches down hill mainly into the watercourses. The effect is not only the reduction in natural vegetation by encroachment for livestock production, but the extraction and reduction in availability of water. The plant is a prolific seed bearer with a hard shell that has a long life span, added to its incredible production potential thus making it an exceptional plant that is able to easily encroach on the natural vegetation.
The eradication of the alien species will release much needed natural vegetation for increased grazing capacity and increase the availability of water in a relatively water scarce area.
The programme proposes the marketing of the wood for the generating of an income to assist with the eradication process. The programme includes a 4 phase process namely:
- Pilot Project Preparation
- Pilot Project Management & implementation plus applied research
- Project Institutionalization
- Extended Project Management & Handover
This will involve the development of the best market identification and a model of the eradication and value adding.
The pilot operation is at present in place with the employment of 45 people that are in the process of cutting wood, value adding, poisoning stumps and spraying of young trees. The wood has mainly been sold as firewood and further market explorations are underway. Sikhulisa iCathcart - a section 21 company has been registered, to take over the management of the business operations should further funds and investment be secured.
The overall objective of this programme is to remove the alien trees that threaten native habitats and increasing water loss and in the process, create employment for people involved in the operations.