Monday, 12 March 2018
Conservation is important to local grower
Forestry has a bright future in Africa with a potential to create employment opportunities for local communities those are the words of Barry Cole is a timber farmer in Sutherland, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
The Sutherland farm has been supplying timber to Sappi Saiccor Mill since 1970, while Barry, commenced with deliveries from the family farm in 1985.
Barry joined the Sappi Group Scheme in 2011 and has won the Kwazulu-Natal regional FSC Sappi Group Scheme award for being one of the best in maintaining the forest standards on three occasions before being awarded the overall national winner in 2013.
“Winning the awards means a lot for us as growers because it indicates that we are doing something right within the scheme and keeps us motivated to maintain our standards” says Barry.
The importance of conservation ranks high with Barry and he believe that it is very important for any grower to ensure that they remove any alien species out of plantation, especially in a water scarce country like South Africa, alien vegetations consume a lot water and can affect the growth of natural forests.
The Sutherland farm is also home to a critically endangered orchid, which is described as an exuberant by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, and it grows in moist grasslands into a ‘tapering, majestic beauty’ with flamboyant pink or red flowers. Barry manages this open area on a bi-annual burning cycle. Every specimen of this orchid on the farm has been GPS referenced by Ezemvelo Kwazulu-Natal Wildlife.
Importance of Certification
“I am very proud to be certified because it shows our willingness to do things right in our forests and I am looking forward to the audits being more customised to take into consideration our local condition by doing a mix of physical and paper audits on our plantations” said Barry
He added that many of the local forests are planted rather than being natural and therefore needs a lot of work in ensuring that they meet the requirements of certification bodies and might need to be customised by the auditors in the future.