For the record

Dr Berta van Rooyen, Tokai

The letter “Trees: an investment worth making” (Constantiaberg Bulletin, January 23) refers.

Manuel’s letter is not convincing as it does not state the Cape Town municipality’s involvement in clearing alien trees in water catchment areas or looking at the impact of alien vegetation on the peninsula’s water table.

To promote investment in alien trees as an inherited legacy should be limited to tree parks with heritage status and the Tokai Arboretum.

The green and alien tree heritage of the peninsula is but the heritage of an exclusive group.

Manuel is also overlooking the fire threat attached to alien canopy trees on the slopes and close to the remaining plantations.

The water-friendly nature of indigenous vegetation is seemingly unknown since the early 20th century. The economic value of local wood of early days formed part of the culture of the indigenous people as well as the colonists and workers – thus making indigenous trees a heritage marker seriously overlooked.

The problem of alien trees providing food and shelter to the uncontrolled squirrel population is also overlooked – ask
any owner of silver-
trees.

For shelter, rather consider a structure like the ramada, common in the state parks of America. It could be built with natural material like poles, reeds or straw and can be erected with style in any private or public garden and on greenbelts. Yes, the concept is foreign, but it could be adjusted to accommodate local arts and culture and thus saving water, vital for the future as Manuel states.

A ramada will give shade all year round, is all-inclusive and will contribute hugely
to conserving our natural and cultural heritage.