Large scale, fast rotation monocultures of alien timber species have a high impact on the water, soil and biodiversity resources of Southern Africa. These industrial timber monocultures are not designed to supply the needs of local people but to feed the ‘over-consumption’ of paper and pulp products in northern countries.
For more information on local impacts and struggles explore the links on our sites.
Large scale, Industrial Timber Plantations
cover millions of hectares in South Africa’s
higher rainfall areas – accumulative impacts
are negatively affecting water, biodiversity, livelihoods and eco-sustainability.
With growing demand for wood fiber,
multi- national plantations corporations
looking towards countries like
Approximately 10% of Swaziland
has been transformed to industrial
timber plantations – displacing rural
and impacting on livelihoods.
Issues & Articles from different Sources
Plantations Fire Video clip
For dramatic video footage
of a recent timber plantation fire
in Sabie, South Africa
Albert Einstein once said that if the bees disappear – man will follow after 4 years… No Bees, No Pollination, No Plants, No Animals, No Man… In the U.S., unprecedented colony losses are being reported – yet no one seems sure of what the cause may be… -
Timber Plantations Cost Lives An Article By Nhlanhla Msweli
The fires raged for more than seven days in late July.....
Whilst the industry is mourning the loss of profits, the people of Peaks, Peak are morning destroyed
UNICEF has recently released a situational report dated 7 July 2007 which lays
the bases for this paper. Dubbed by the Swaziland Fire Department as “the
Swazi history,” the fires impacted three of the country's four regions – Hhohho, Manzini and Shiselweni.
The Klaserie River originates at Mariepskop, Limpopo Province, South Africa The water measurements were taken where the river crosses the road between Tzaneen and Nelspruit, beneath the mountain.
All that has changed between 1935 and 1964 was a progressive establishment of mono culture tree plantations in the catchment area. Mean Annual Rainfall : Mariepskop forestry station (mm) Mean Annual Run Off : Klaserie River Mariepskop (m2) 1935 - 1964 Source : Van der Schyff H.P. & Schoonraad, E., 1971 “The Flora of Mariepskop” Bothalia 10(3) 461 – 500
The Impact of Timber Plantations on Culture & Livelihoods in South-Eastern Mpumalanga and Swaziland
A series of 6 articles based upon interviews with elderly rural people.
By: Godfrey Silaule
"She insisted that her mother had no power to voice her dislike of mono culture but she hoped that I would be able to bring the attention that was needed, especially to both government and large scale mono producers who constantly rape our nutritious soil in the name of profit maximization".
The Sappi Pulp Mill at Ngodwana, 50km west of Nelspruit in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, is a huge wood-pulping plant alongside the N4 highway. This Pulp Mill, being the largest in Southern Africa, currently produces almost 500 000 tons of pulp per year.
It is notorious for the stench and pollution it emits, for its health risks, truck traffic and its seemingly insatiable hunger for millions of alien trees. These alien plantations cover many thousands of hectares of escarpment land, like conquerors of forgotten battlefields where grassland fauna and flora have lost the struggle to survive.
The Sudwala Caves and Rainforest are situated approx. 35km west of Nelspruit, Mpumalanga province, South Africa. The caves are currently extraordinarily dry – a phenomena which could be attributed to the high impact industrial timber plantations in the cave’s catchment area.
Forests, Water and Development: Seeking Effective Ways of Utilising Our Resources
This paper suggests that the introduction of alternative forms of slower-growing forest trees (such as indigenous hardwoods for either timber or traditional medicines, but not excluding high-value exotics), using significantly less water than industrial plantations as we know them, might provide an acceptable land use in areas which are stressed or water scarce. This might offer a means for the regulatory authorities to allocate at least some water to rural communities in ways beneficial to development, without putting undue strain on catchment resources. It is time, too, for the commercial forestry sector to seek ways to reduce its impact on water and the environment, and a move towards slow-growing high-value trees might offer a way of bringing more benefit at less cost.
We count the costs in shattered bits lost opportunities
In peoples displaced, Choice denied, The Spring is Dry...
It lives by killing mountains and valleys. Disappearing fountains and streams.
It kills the buck, the mole, the swallow and the lark. Consolidating 'fake forests' -
It does not consider the worm that burrows the soil.
It counts not the micro-organisms and knows not
the function of the soil food web.
Just mining blindly.
The massive mills spew filth into the crisp country air,
A constant drainage of polluted effluent
into the crystal clear water,
Compromise the river system – pass the problem downstream.
Trucks roar throughout the night
Gone are the days of peace and quiet.
In the south...
Cheap land, cheap labor, cheap life
Warm sun, fast growth, a quick buck,
draining the life force from this land.
This need for greed, These costs too high
And we must change, So it can change...