Sunday, 26 September 2010

Forest of Ferns - Prince Alfred Pass

On a recent visit to the Knysna forests from Uniondale down the Prince Alfred Pass, which is spectacular and awe-inspiring, we stopped to investigate the Forest of Ferns. 

One inevitably gets overwhelmed by the sheer scale of plant diversity in the forests. A case in point is the fern species found growing near streams, on rotting logs, in trees, along roadsides, in full sun, in dappled sun, part shade, full shade and deep shade. 

 They are difficult to identify, and some nurseries erroneously sell plants they will swear upon to be indigenous forest ferns. There are at least 65 different species of indigenous forest ferns identified by botanists and at least 125 different tree species. 

There are minature forests growing on fallen logs and undergrowth, a myriad ancient trees and many different shrubs and smaller trees. The elders were in bloom, their crowns adorned with clusters of white flowers allowing easy identification among the stinkwoods, keurboom, yellowoods, wild mulberry, Cape chestnut, lightning bush and many others.

These are primordial forests (untouched by man) with 800 year old yellowoods and gives one a sense of the geological time one experiences in die oervlakte.

Although there are only pockets of primordial forests left in this area, they are accessible to the public and are our heritage to experience, learn from and enjoy.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Dr Chris Lee gives feedback from International Geoscience Education Conference

With great excitement this post from Dr. Chris Lee

I went to a Geological Society South Africa meeting the last week, the GeoHeritage and Education meeting, as part of the International Geoscience Education Conference. 
"The importance of relating the story of South Africa's unique geological heritage has been recognised by the Geological Society of SA, the Council for Geoscience and others ... Various programmes are in place to document and showcase the geological superlatives of the country and a number of publications on this subject have been produced or are planned", this quote is from an introductory address to the meeting. 

Among the several topics was the proposal that national "Iconic Landscapes" be considered. "The landscapes proposed are based on their distinctive or unique geological character and then on important associated natural, cultural and historical features and tourism value". Several critiria are listed that would define an "Iconic Landscape". Some 20 landscapes have been listed, one of which is the "Great Karoo Landscape".

I introduced die oervlakte book to several of the more influential attendees at the meeting, and it was greeted with good interest. Clearly this book will go a long way towards defining the "Little Karoo Landscape", and meets the criteria for an Iconic Landscape. 

I have proposed to the Geological Society that the next GeoHeritage meeting be held in the area.