Roads Agency Limpopo Joins South Africa in Celebrating Arbor Month
September is National Arbor Month. Arbor Day, that low-key annual day that was first celebrated in South Africa in 1945, has grown into something bigger. And Road Agency Limpopo (RAL) is now firmly rooted in the tradition.
At least since 2001, the day to celebrate and plant trees had branched out to a National Arbor Week for the first seven days of September, but has from this year been extend further to a bigger National Arbor Month.
The theme for the first extended 2018 National Arbor Month campaign was “Forests and Sustainable Cities”.
The Arbor Month, and its previous iterations, is the campaign of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), and its forerunners, – the “the custodian of forestry in South Africa”.
According to DAFF, the aim of the National Arbor Month is to promote and create a better life for all.
“Organisations are encouraged to participate in tree planting activities and related environmental education programmes.”
RAL has since 2009, contributed to the campaign by planting trees in areas and communities where the Agency constructs the much needed road infrastructure.
Thabelo Mulaudzi, Assistant Manager in the Environmental Management unit at RAL says the initiative was started due to the impact of excessive vegetation clearance along road reserves and borrows pits at construction sites.
“To restore nature, RAL’s Environmental Management unit, and Stakeholder Relations and Community Development unit request contractors and consulting engineers to donate indigenous trees; particularly fruit trees, to communities were the projects are or had been implemented.”
“The programme starts in September each year, however depending on the programme of a contractor on site, trees can still be donated in any other month or season which is ideal for tree planting,” says Ms Mulaudzi.
With the National Arbor Month coinciding with the completion date for the upgrading of Road D1392 in the Sekhukhune District Municipality, Lonerock Construction - the main contractor for the road project - donated 60 trees.
The trees, 30 mango and 30 orange trees, were planted at local crèches, schools and traditional authority offices in the villages adjacent to the upgraded road.
The 24km D1392 was upgraded from gravel to tar over a three-year period beginning at Ga-Malekane through the villages of Ga-Mampuru,
Ga-Phasha, Tukakgomo ending at the intersection with road D1296 at Ga-Mahlakwena. (Story on Page 32)
“To help increase public awareness of just a few of the 2 000 indigenous tree species in South Africa, every Arbor campaign celebration highlights two specific trees; one common and one rare (uncommon) species,” says DAFF. (See Box on the left for 2018 Trees of the Year)
According to DAFF’s 2000-2020 Trees of the Year list, trees to look forward to in the next couple of years that grow in Limpopo province, include Sclerocarya birrea (2019, Common Tree of the Year) also known as Morula (Northern Sotho), Ukanyi (Xitsonga) or Mufula in Tshivenda, and the Baobab (Adansonia digitata), the 2020 Rare Tree of the Year also known in the province’s vernaculars as Seboi (Northern Sotho), Ximuwu (Xitsonga) or Muvhuyu (Tshivenda).
In South Africa, according to the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Morula can be found in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces while the Baobab, which is the largest tree in South Africa, can only be found in Limpopo.
RAL will be celebrating a decade of its involvement with tree planting in 2019.
“RAL as an implementing road infrastructure agency encourages all citizens of Limpopo province to contribute to sustainable development by planting trees,” says Ms Mulaudzi.
From left to right, Martin Hislop and Wicus Naude from Lonerock Construction (Contractor), RAL’s Project Manager Nick Muthivheli, Allen Mugadza (with a spade) from SFC Engineers (Consultant) and RAL’s Thabelo Mulaudzi (with a hose) planting a mango tree at Ngwanatheko Public School, a primary school in Ga-Mampuru.