Major tree and flora Indigenisation Effort at Constantia Nek Estate will restore to Hout Bay the Forests and Shrubs of the 17th Century.
The developers of the R150 million 11ha 40 unit Constantia Nek, Estate now taking shape 1 km below the Nek itself, are going ahead with a conservation\ rehabilitation initiative that will help Hout Bay to regain something of its 17th Century reputation as the home of one of South Africa’s finest indigenous forests.
Mark Cockburn, one of the estate’s developers, said this week that he and his business partner, David Delbridge have a stated objective of ‘re-introducing’ indigenous species to the development.
In 1652, Jan Van Riebeeck described the forests of t’Houtbaaijten (Hout Bay, Cape Town) as “the best in the world” but today they are almost non- existent. Van Riebeeck and the settlors took their toll in felling the forrests to build defensive garrisons.
“We decided that the Constantia Nek Estate would do its part in the rehabilitation” Cockburn said. The site itself over time has become populated with exotic species – and no indigenous trees remain, though some shrubs remain indigenous. To make the plan a reality, the environmental and landscaping consultants, CNdV, were commissioned to draw up a comprehensive indigenization programme and a local Hout Bay landscape contractor, Roger Codrai of ‘Interplant Horticulture’, will carry out the work. Interplant will supply and plant no less than 75,000 indigenous shrubs and over 500 new trees, including over 200 indigenous trees of varying sizes and maturity. The re-indigenization initiative is also highly sensitive to maintaining awareness of minimizing water needs.
The list will include the much-admired Yellowood Podocarpus Latifolus, now South Africa’s national tree, twelve of which will be already mature and about five metres in height.( These qualify as “1000 litre trees”, a reference to the size of their root systems.)They will form an attractive boundary along the Main Road /along the entrance road to the homes.
The cost of the indigenization landscape exercise will be in the region of R5 million. Cockburn has said that when complete, he believes the Homeowners and the developers will be proud of the Estate’s contribution to returning part of the beautiful valley’s ecological heritage.
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