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Majakaneng hiking trail project: community workshop

27/10/21

The MAJAKANENG HIKING TRAIL PROJECT team and invited guests workshopped how to tackle environmental challenges and promote sustainable land use in the Majakaneng community lands. The workshop was expertly facilitated by CapaSity, and the team are so grateful for the interest and participation showed by the Bojanala District Municipality Department of Health and Environment, the NW regional forestry branch of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, and some Magaliesberg Biosphere Board Members. The participants, including a representative from the ZCC and several Majakaneng residents, enjoyed a morning of knowledge sharing initiated by the enthusiastic  Eco-Rangers and Trail Champions who have experienced these environmental threats first hand while building the Majakaneng Heritage Trail. 


Photographs depicting activities that were deemed to be challenging for hiking trail management and to the mountain environment were sorted into groups. Participants indicated which activities were considered most harmful and why, and proceeded to discuss some strategic and practical solutions to address these threats, in addition to listing the stakeholders and possible partnerships that would be required for effective solutions.

The process is ongoing, and the next step is for the trail team to distil the information further and decide on which problems are the most urgent to tackle and whether solutions are achievable by the team on their own, or whether they require stakeholder involvement and/or partnerships.  Participatory community workshops such as this go a long way to engender pride in our natural heritage and cement a path of biodiversity stewardship and sustainable land management.  We look forward to the next workshop…

TABLE: A list of harmful activities and reasons why participants perceived them to be a threat to the environment and or challenging for hiking trail management. 

POLLUTION  of  WATER,  AIR and LAND
Littering in the natural areas, as well as along the streams in Majakaneng villiage
Leaving religious and spiritual sacrifices in the kloof and stream
The use of poisons and detergent in the stream and rock pools for spiritual cleansing purposes
Lack of environmental awareness
UNSUSTAINABLE WOOD HARVESTING
Commercial-scale harvesting for crafts and firewood
Indiscriminate harvesting of slow-growing species
Harvesting of forest trees
Breaking trees and branches for easy access to fruit
Removing vegetation destabilizes the soil and causes erosion
Reduces the effect of trees for cooling and carbon capture purposes
Lack of environmental awareness
UNSUSTAINABLE COLLECTION OF PLANTS AND BARK
Removal of endangered and protected species
Commercial-scale harvesting
Ring-barking
Indigenous knowledge is not passed on to collectors and the younger generation
Lack of environmental awareness
ANIMAL POACHING
Indiscriminate killing of species not intended to be snared, including endangered species
Disruption of ecology and food chain when predators are snared
Using natural “wild” lands for unsustainable human use
Time, effort and skills needed for effective snare patrols
Arson used to prepare for poaching leads to wildfires
VELD FIRES
Kills wildlife ( particularly tortoises, small reptiles and mammals and those whose movement is restricted by fences
Threatens human  lives , property and infrastructure
Riparian and kloof ecosystems exposed to fire can be severely disrupted and damaged by fire
Frequent veld fires favour the growth of certain plants – such as alien invasive species
Much time and resources are needed immediately to control runaway fires
INVASIVE ALIEN PLANTS
Outcompete naturally occurring  indigenous species Use excessive amounts of water compared to indigenous species
Use excessive soil nutrients that are not available to indigenous plants
Causes disturbance to natural and pristine wilderness, ecosystems and conservation areas
Increases the intensity of veldfires
Much time and resources are needed in the right season, to manage invasions
OFF-ROAD  MOTORBIKES
Cause erosion gullies on slopes
Cause disturbance  and mortalities to wild animals that are sensitive to noise and human presence
Dislodges rocks  that can cause ecological damage and destabilize slopes
Damage to plants and to  kloof and stream ecology
Disturbs hikers trying to enjoy nature and  a peaceful environment
Much time and resources are needed to repair damage caused by these vehicles
The Majakaneng Hiking Trail Project is supported by The German Commission for UNESCO and the Federal Foreign Office of Germany

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Cathy Dzerefos

    This trail is one of the most interesting ones I have done in the Magaliesberg and it is well worth supporting. The trail guides are knowledgeable.

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