An increase in illegal bark-stripping is posing a serious threat to Cape Town’s trees.
A post shared on the Facebook page, Friends of Table Mountain reported that there have been increased sightings of bark-stripped trees in Newlands Ravine.
According to the post, a site inspection of the latest bark stripping site revealed the trees had been severely damaged.
It is believed this most recent incident took place on Sunday or Monday night.
At the minimum 13 trees were found stripped in a 30m radius; “most of them completely girdled and beyond saving. A few can be treated but serious consideration should be given to bind some chicken wire around them to avoid further stripping.”
“This area will soon leave a big hole in the forest canopy since trees were previously stripped here; few now remain. The culprits were clearly organized and worked with intent: settled in for the night with a fire going; had some sustenance and even used gloves to protect their hands given the stripping on a large scale,” read the post.
The illegal bark stripping could eventually lead to the destruction of thousands of plants in Cape Town.
When the bark is stripped from the entire circumference of a tree, the tree dies a slow death because of the interruption of their nutritional transport systems.
If only partially stripped, the tree is damaged to such an extent that it inhibits the growth pattern and weakens the tree, making it more prone to stressors such as drought and disease.