Creating spaces to connect with nature

Creating spaces to connect with nature in South Africa

Nature reserves are becoming more and more important in an increasingly urbanised world. Only by spending time in protected places do we have a sense of how rich in birds, flowers and insects our countryside could be.

Without such benchmarks, we lose all sense of what we should expect and what we can cherish. We lose all sense of the wild and our connection to it. Sappi Forests participates in the national stewardship programme involving seven proclaimed nature reserves on our land.

  • The Oosterbeek Nature Reserve and Angle Ridge Nature Reserve (2,997 hectares (ha)) are both located on the Highlands Management unit of Sappi’s Twello plantation. These reserves lie within the headwaters of the Lumati and Mtsoli Rivers within the InKomati Water Management Area, which is of strategic importance in supplying water to the region, including Mozambique. The value of these areas lies in the fact that they are areas of outstanding natural beauty and are part of the Barberton Centre of Endemism and Barberton Mountainlands, an ecosystem gazetted as Vulnerable.
  • The Mount Morgan Nature Reserve, a grassland portion (1,013 ha) of the Montrose and Kempstone Management Units of Sappi’s Twello plantation, is an area of outstanding natural beauty containing serpentine outcrops with associated endemic species (unique serpentine flora: eg Berkheya coddi, species of Inezia) adapted to high levels of heavy minerals.
  • The Ngodwana River Valley Nature Reserve is a grassland and woodland area (965 ha) of the Sappi Nooitgedacht plantation in Mpumalanga. The area is representative of a transition between two Endangered vegetation types – Northern Escarpment Dolomite Grassland and Legogote Sour Bushveld – and lies adjacent to Coetzeestroom Nature Reserve. Accordingly, it’s important for protected area consolidation and expansion.
  • The 940 ha Clairmont Mountain Nature Reserve comprises several habitats with high conservation value including 811 ha of grasslands; 129.6 ha of indigenous forests: and 3.6 ha of wetland. Due to this diversity of habitats, Clairmont Mountain is also rich in biodiversity and home to a number of Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable and Red Data List species. It is also home to species of cultural importance, including a host of medicinal plants.
  • The small Roelton Nature Reserve (118.3 ha) forms part of the KwaZulu Natal Mistbelt Grassland Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). As an IBA, this site is recognised internationally as an important site for bird conservation. Roelton hosts a breeding site of the Blue Swallow – a bird which is classified as ‘Critically Endangered’ on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The reserve is also home to the Mistbelt Chirping Frog, currently listed as ‘Endangered’, by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The Karkloof Nature Reserve, of which Sappi owns a portion, is a vital and significant area because of its biodiversity. The Reserve comprises predominantly Mistbelt Forest and Mistbelt Grassland.