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Reserve Affairs
Compiled from the latest Reserve Report - monthly
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From the Board
Communications from the Board - quarterly
- Updated 25/08/2017

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Conservation
Compiled from the latest Reserve Report - monthly
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Building Projects
Building at Ingwelala that might affect your visit - monthly
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Sightings
Recorded sightings and members' stories - monthly
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Gate Letter
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Weather

Rainfall: September 2017:
1983 - 2017 0.0mm
   
Temps:
1992 - 2017
Max: 34°C
Min: 07°C
   
7/14 Day forecast - Ingwelala

Conservation

19/10/2017

From the September 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Nil

Veld rehabilitation & erosion control - Serengeti Plains

Gypsum Trial: The objective is to condition/soften the crust/topsoil to allow maximum water absorption as well as grass seed penetration


Exposed areas specifically
selected for the gypsum trial on
Serengeti Plains on Buffelsbed.

Preparation of soil before applying
the gypsum, tractor and rip to brake
the crust of the soil and allow for
the gypsum to penetrate the
compacted topsoil.

Application of the gypsum.

 

Umbabat
  • The new security service provider, Noctuam, has deployed and orientated well.

From the August 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

 

Alien plant eradication

  • 163 Opunita plants (Prickly Pear) treated this month, please map below indicating where the plants were treated.

  • 90% of the plants monitored after last month’s treatments are dead.

Veld Rehabilitation

The mopane trial site on Goedehoop is work in progress. A tractor was used to break off all the small branches from the main stems of the trees thinned out. The main stems were then collected and carefully packed in drainage lines that are showing signs of potential gully erosion. These structures will assist with decelerating water run-off, thereby trapping silt and aiding sedimentation.

Erosion Control  


Before tractor use (to trample thin branches)

After tractor use

Branches packed into drainage lines/gullies

Notice very sparse ground cover in general

 

Umbabat

  • A new security service provider, Noctuam, was appointed to the Umbabat, following Ntomeni Rangers Services (NRS) serving notice.

  • Thank you to NRS for its dedicated service over the years. Wishing the NRS team every success with its future ventures.

From the July 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

 

Alien plant eradication - Report by Marke Shaw

This past month the conservation team focused on an important aspect of initial herbicide treatment on established stands of Opuntia spp. (prickly pear). As mentioned in previous Reserve Reports, a new method of herbicide application to Opuntia was carried out on a trial basis to monitor the effectiveness of foliar spray vs foliar injection.

The observations showed that the folio application of MSMA on Prickly pears was very effective, suggesting we continue with this spray methodology. Absorption rate by the plant is high, the effects can be seen when comparing the two pictures below.


Day of folia Application of MSMA

Same plant three days later

Please note that the number displayed on the map below is the number of entries into C-More, not the actual number of plants treated, i.e. one entry on C-More may include several plants that make up a local plant community.112 plants (Opuntia spp.) treated this month, please see map below referencing the location of treated plants.

1707 conservation 01
Heat map generated from the on-line C-More GIS programme mapping treated Opuntia

 

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Please click here for the latest progress report

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat Umbabat Warden attended:
  • The perimeter firebreak with KNP is 100% complete (grading).

From the June 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated (folio spray) X6 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide in Camp.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Nil

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat Umbabat Warden attended:
  • The perimeter firebreak with KNP is 40% complete (grading).

From the May 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 5 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide on Argyle.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Grewia spp. clearing (50 hectares) was completed on Buffelsbed in the block between Eastern River Road and Mopani Drive. This also included very selective mopane clearing. Results will be monitored closely and reported on in future monthly reports.
  • 400 square metres of Grewia spp. cleared around Bird Hide

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat Umbabat Warden attended:
  • Technology Show Case of latest anti-poaching equipment presented by the CSIR, hosted by the South African Wildlife College.
  • One GKEPF Security Meeting (Network).
  • A presentation by ASU (Arizona State University) on a decision-making software programme.

From the April 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 30 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide on Buffelsbed

Veld Rehabilitation

A total of six hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) has been cleared between River Road and Route 1 on Argyle.

A further two hectares of Mopane was cleared on the identified trial site on Goedehoop, this brings the total area cleared so far to four hectares. This selective clearing is a trial site in Mopane Woodland to monitor the effects of woody/grass competition. It is hoped that natural grass swards can be re-established in these woodland areas as part of the long-term veld rehabilitation.

Grewia spp. clearing commenced on Buffelsbed in the block between Eastern River Road and Mopani Drive. This also includes very selective mopane clearing.

In the Lowveld Grewia spp. (raisin bush) is considered an indigenous problem plant. It grows prolifically under ideal environmental conditions that favour the plant. This is apparent in our general area since the 2012 floods. Traditionally Ingwelala has cleared Grewia by means of a string of chain attached to a tractor and the trailing end of the chain is wrapped around the base of the plant and the tractor then pulls the plant out. The field assistant then unwraps the chain and selects a new plant. This practice is limited to the rainy season when the soils are soft enough to ensure that most of the roots are extracted with the plant. As soil conditions get drier, the roots snap off and this leads to plant coppice needing follow up treatment, either by pulling the next season or foliage spray with herbicide. In a good month, we probably manage five hectares of clearing at most.

1705 bush thinning“Bush Thinning Solutions” is the service provider/contractor Ingwelala has sourced. Remember that in the conservation industry there are service providers who specialise in bush thinning. Bush Thinning Solutions designed a machine that is easily transportable, easily operated, highly robust and highly manoeuvrable to tackle the task of bush thinning or bush clearing. Bush thinning tends to be selective, whereas bush clearing is non-selective.

The machine itself is designed to have a large circular saw that cuts the plant off about 80mm above natural ground level. Its three-wheel design makes it highly manoeuvrable. Its steel frames and welded mesh frames protect the operator from protruding branches.

Depending on plant density and thinning vs clearing, it can clear as much as 10 hectares in a day. Two field assistants track the machine and spray herbicide onto the cut stumps left behind. This is known as “cut stump treatment”. A dye is used in the herbicide mix so the field assistants can see which stumps have been treated to avoid duplication. The herbicide used is called Access, and an agent called Actipron is added to the mix to aid absorption.

Follow up treatment occurs in the next growth season when the thinned/cleared sites are inspected/monitored for any sign of coppice from the roots that remained after initial treatment. You seldom, if ever, achieve 100% kill rate from initial treatment therefore follow treatments are necessary. This coppice is then sprayed/treated and is known as “foliar spray treatment”. 

This veld rehabilitation is undertaken with the objective of reducing these dense stands and promoting a better mix of woodies and grass swards, which in turn maintains a higher level of biodiversity.

Erosion Control  

  • Minor erosion control work carried out at The Platform to slow down water run-off.
Umbabat
  • One incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat, without any poaching success.
  • One APNR Management Meeting attended by the Chairs and Warden.
  • One Nkorho Exco Meeting and one Nkorho Wardens Committee Meeting held during April.

From the March 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 40 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide on Argyle.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • A total of six hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) has been cleared between River Road and Route 1 on Argyle.
  • A total of two hectares of Mopani has been cleared on the identified trial site on Goedehoop. This selective clearing is a trial site in Mopani Woodland to monitor the effects of woody/grass competition. It is hoped that natural grass swards can be re-established in these woodland areas as part of the long-term veld rehabilitation. Currently the method is labour intensive, with the future objective of contracting a specialist service provider, using specially adapted machinery to clear areas of meaningful volumes. Quotations from service providers are in hand and being reviewed for selection.

Erosion Control  

  • Nil
Umbabat
  • No incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat during the reporting period.

From the February 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 45 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide along the Nhlaralumi River on Argyle and Buffelsbed. A new method of mist spraying the herbicide onto the established Opuntia stands is being applied.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Four hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) cleared between River Road and Route 1 on Argyle.
  • One hectare of Mopani cleared on an identified trial site on Goedehoop. This selective clearing is a trial site in Mopani Woodland to monitor the effects of woody/grass competition. It is hoped that natural grass swards can be re-established in these woodland areas as part of the long-term veld rehabilitation. Currently the method is labour intensive, with the future objective of contracting a specialist service provider, using specially adapted machinery to clear areas of meaningful volumes.

Erosion Control  

  • The sodic site near Leopard Rock on Goedehoop suffered erosion damage in the main gully after heavy rainfall. Damage to existing rock packings were repaired and two new rock gabions (baskets) fitted in this main channel. It is very interesting to monitor and understand the dynamics of this rehabilitation site.
Umbabat
  • No incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat during the reporting period.

From the January 2017 Reserve Manager's report:

Alien plant eradication

  • Conservation staff treated 30 Opuntia (prickly pear) with herbicide along the Nhlaralumi River on Buffelsbed. Thank you to Members who assist Mark Shaw by recording in the sightings register where prickly pear is found on the Reserve.

Veld Rehabilitation

  • Two hectares of selective bush thinning (Grewia spp) cleared along Eastern River Road on Buffelsbed.
  • Two hectares of follow up treatment on Grewia coppice carried out at the junction of Route 1 and River Road on Argyle.

Erosion Control  

  • Nil.
Umbabat
  • No incursion (suspected poachers) into the Umbabat during the reported period.
  • One old male lion was euthenased, his body condition was very poor. The post mortem revealed chronic Bovine TB infection with lesions