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Table Mountain National Park

Environmental Issues

Cecilia Plantation Fact Sheet

Introduction

In April 2005 the Tokai and Cecilia Plantations became part of the Table Mountain National Park. Prior to that they were managed by the state owned MTO Forestry (Pty) Ltd. – a subsidiary of South African Forestry Company Limited (SAFCOL).

The Tokai and Cecilia Pine Plantation are commercial operations that have been harvested on a cyclical basis since the early 1900’s. The harvesting is determined by the age of the trees and their yield has been factored into the availability of timber on the commercial market for use in the industrial and construction sectors.

Role Players

MTO Forestry (Pty) Ltd

The plantation is located on state owned land under the jurisdiction of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) with SAFCOL having previously managed the plantation in terms of its commercial operations.

Recently SAFCOL was fragmented and all the commercial plantations were put out to a nation-wide tender. A company called Cape Timber Resources (CTR) won the state tender to the harvesting rights of the Tokai and Cecilia in these plantations. CTR then bought 75% share in MTO - and the state retained a 25% share. MTO operates across the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces and is the agency doing the commercial harvesting of these plantations.

MTO has bought and paid for the timber and will lease the land during the harvesting process. The harvesting will occur over a period of 20 years as compartments mature.

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF)

DWAF is the land owner of the Tokai & Cecilia Plantations and therefore MTO’s original lessor. However, Tokai and Cecilia are located within a designated nature area – the Cape Peninsula Protected Natural Environment (CPPNE). When the TMNP was established the government agreed that that the conservation worthy land within the CPPNE be incorporated into the TMNP over time. To this end DWAF has assigned the 20 year lease with MTO to SANParks/ TMNP.

Table Mountain National Park

TMNP is now MTO’s lessor and will take be taking over the management and rehabilitation of clear felled areas. TMNP is not the agency harvesting the trees nor will it profit from the harvesting. TMNP’s only involvement with the commercial harvesting activities is ensuring that MTO abides by the lease agreement.

In addition the TMNP has also taken over management of recreational activities, visitor management and administration of the area.

However, it is recognised that much of the plantation is a popular recreational area and for this reason a process of public engagement with interested and affected parties will be undertaken for the preparation of a broader management plan for the area.

As this process will require broad consultation and must be conducted in a thorough, comprehensive manner, TMNP is applying for funds to appoint a dedicated, professional service agency to drive the process.

As the land will be managed as part of the Table Mountain National Park the land can never be sold, subdivided or used for housing development.

The harvesting process

For safety reasons members of the public are asked not to enter the compartments during the harvesting process.

For information please e-mail: chrisb@sanparks.org