Is the Western Cape province exempted from planting more trees?

In trying to keep global temperatures below 2 °C, the world needs to minimize carbon emissions mostly from the energy, transport and agricultural sectors and promote mitigation practices such as to increase plantations that can decrease carbon concentrations in the atmosphere (Rogelj et al., 2011).

Planting more trees in South Africa especially in the Western Cape province might be a challenge since the province is still not water secured after the  water crisis that was experienced recently. it has also been reported that approximately 10 million hectares of land in South Africa has been invaded by invasive alien species that consume up to 50 l/day of water (Dzikiti et al., 2013).

Meet my new friend Mr “Tortoise”

Do you know what’s interesting about field work? You get to meet other species such as the angulate tortoise which  is endemic to Southern Africa. It has striking markings on its beautiful shell, which is used for protection and do you know what’s amazing? studies show they can live  up to 32 years.

Average growth of (Acacia saligna) from the 22nd of July and 27th July 2018

Two parameters; stem diameter and tree height were measured at Atlantis  on the 22nd of June and 27th of July 2018 in a field of Acacia saligna, and this was done to compare the growth of trees over a short period of time. Based on the results it shows that the growth of the trees have increased slightly over a month’s period. The increase in growth was influenced by the climatic conditions in that area . NB: the trees were receiving enough rainfall during the month of June and July and they were exposed to enough sunlight to favor their growth.

The major questions are how much will these invasive alien trees grow over a year and how much of groundwater will they utilize during summer when less rainfall is received  in the Western Cape province?

(02/08/2018)

Thank you so much to CSIR for welcoming me to do my research, I have learnt a lot from Dr Mark Gush and  Dr Richard Bugan . As the deadline approaches, it’s time to go back to Ireland and finish what I have started. it was a long long journey now its time to conclude my studies.

DATA COLLECTION (22/06/2018)

I’m continuing where I left of with data collection; today I managed to collect data for tree height and tree diameter under different classes. I also managed to download data from the HPV (Heat pulse velocity) to show how much moisture has evaporated through the trees and the AWS (automated weather station) that I will use to formulate graphs of rainfall patterns,humidity, daily  temperatures and wind speed . To know the impacts invasive alien  species have on groundwater recharge, I will have to check how much water has been depleted by the trees and how much they have grown in a period of two months.

Back to the Fields (07/06/2018)

Today I took a field trip with my CSIR Host Supervisors to Conduct field experience in the installation of sap flow sensors to measure transpiration (water use) of trees. We also measured an area of 10m x 10m, Calculated how many invasive alien  trees are found in that area and also measured their stem diameter. The reason for measuring the stem diameter is to check how much the invasive alien trees will grow starting from today (07/06/2018) and compare that data  with the one that will be  collected in a month’s time. It was a very informative experience today of drilling the trees at a certain length and inserting the sensors.

Weather Station (30/05/2018)

Today I had a chance to learn how a Weather Station is installed. This Weather Station consist of sensors that are used  to produce Data for wind speed, rainfall, humidity and daily temperatures that will be used to make proper arguments concerning the project at Atlantis, South Africa. All data received from the CR1000 logger is accumulated by connecting a PC.

Why is it important to have a weather station??

In order to understand the impacts of Alien invasive species on aquifers, we also have to know the climatic conditions of that area e.g how much rainfall has been received during the period of the research and how much of groundwater is being deducted by the invasive trees when temperatures are high etc .

Field Visit (17/05/2018)

Today we took a trip to Atlantis with my Host supervisors Dr. Mark Gush and Dr. Richard Bugan. We did field selection, inspection of the trees and marking of territory of  where we will install our HPV system. The HPV system is used to measure the sap flow in the trees to show how much water is being lost through evapotranspiration.  It was an interesting journey to learn about the different types of invasive alien trees growing  in the area and luckily enough I saw how they are being cut down and controlled from growing any further. These alien invasive trees extract water from the aquifer which is a source of water for the Atlantis community.

Preparation for field work (15/05/2018)

It was an interesting day for me today with my Host supervisors Dr. Mark Gush and Dr. Richard Bugan preparing the equipment that will be used for my research at Atlantis in Cape Town, South Africa. We will be looking at the Impacts of invasive alien trees on recharge into the Atlantis aquifer on the West Coast of South Africa . We were checking if all the equipment of the weather station are working properly. We have tested the HPV (heat pulse velocity) equipment and we made sure that we have all the tools that will be needed for installation .