In celebrating Arbor Week, Sappi Southern Africa has highlighted the company's efforts to help protect the pepper-bark tree, also known as the Warburgia salutaris.
The company points out that the pepper-bark tree is highly prized in the Southern African healthcare sector and that commercial gatherers are increasingly crossing into protected areas, resulting in these trees becoming critically endangered.
In a continuation of its ongoing work on this project, Sappi, in conjunction with the SANPARKS Skukuza Nursery, has made available 2 000 Warburgia salutaris saplings to the Endangered Wildlife Trust for its Warburgia salutaris project in the Soutpansberg Protected Area, in Limpopo.
The saplings were originally propagated through the cooperation between Sappi, the Agricultural Research Council Nelspruit and the South African National Biodiversity Institute Nelspruit.
In KwaZulu-Natal, 1 600 of the saplings have been supplied to the Sibaya Coastal Precinct.
These trees form an important part of the natural vegetation rehabilitation programme, which is being undertaken within the precinct, while at the same time forming a future seed orchard in a secure area once the trees mature.
Recipients receive the trees at no charge and, in return, undertake to protect and preserve the resources of the planet and make seeds available for future propagation requirements.
Since inception, Sappi and its working group partners, SANBI Nelspruit, Fort Hare University, ARC Nelspruit and the Shaw Research Centre have propagated and provided over 40 000 seedlings to traditional healers, urban and rural communities and created seed orchards in safe and protected estates.