What if the Garden Route had no more trees?

 

There is an unseen cataclysm lurking in the pleasant surrounds of the garden route. A threat that blends into the background. The slow, menacing approach of invasive vegetation is suffocating the natural environment. Ray Nolan has lived in the area for a long time. He’s been watching. And now it’s time to save nature from herself. By planting a forest.

And not just any collection of plants – indigenous trees. Along with other forward-thinking locals, Nolan runs the Precious Tree project to push back against alien species. The group is replanting natural forests, one tree at a time. It’s their gift to the world. Nearly a quarter of South Africa’s indigenous vegetation is listed as threatened by extinction. Habit encroachment, degradation and alien vegetation are doing most of the damage. “When we eventually wake up and work out the actual cost of the damage we have done to the earth it’s going to scare us to death,” Nolan says.

The rest of us should take heed of nature’s warnings. While our indigenous flora fights unwanted guests, forests in other parts of the world are being entirely mowed down. We’ve yet to feel the full repercussions of these actions. But Nolan and company aren’t content to wait around and find out. We need to replant our respect for the earth, together.