Letters ’distorted’ tree programme

Sandra Hewitson, Nova Constantia

I refer to the letters by William Bond (“Tree-planting drive a threat to ecology, livelihoods”) and Tony Rebelo (“Trees come at a cost”) published in the Bulletin on February 3, which were written in response to the article on the national government’s Ten Million Trees Programme (“Call to plant 10 million trees could give Cape Town back its shade,” Bulletin, January 20).

William Bond writes: “So when the enthusiasts for tree planting welcome the 10-million-trees programme do they envisage the whole of the Cape Peninsula covered under trees? Does ’giving back Cape Town’s shade’ mean swallowing up our famous sun-loving fynbos under pine trees?”

This a complete exaggeration and gross misrepresentation of the programme. No-one, anywhere, has suggested covering the whole of the Cape Peninsula with trees, swallowing up fynbos, or planting pine trees. And the programme is a national programme, ie 10 million trees nationally, not just for the Western Cape.

Tony Rebelo says that “pines, gums and wattles are a major fire hazard” and “planting invasive alien trees in inappropriate areas is a recipe for disaster”. This is a complete distortion of what the programme is about. Nowhere does the programme advocate planting pines, gums and wattles or any invasive alien trees in inappropriate areas.

What is the point of these distortions?

For an accurate picture of the Ten Million Trees Programme, go to https://www.dffe.gov.za/sites/default/files/docs/10milliontrees_advert.pdf