Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
4 minute read
25 Feb 2021
12:20 pm

Newland Forest’s trees being stripped for bark a looming ecological crisis

Nica Richards

Although not a new practice, with a number of cultures using bark for medicinal purposes, rangers are noticing glaring forest gaps that could cause an ecological disaster. 

Newands Forest in the Table Mountain National Park is facing issues with trees being stripped of their bark for medicinal purposes. Photo: Nica Richards

Despite being one of South Africa’s smaller national parks, the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has no shortage of problems facing the area’s flora, fauna and marine life.  TMNP rangers have begun to notice alarming rates of a trend known as bark stripping, in which large portions or whole trees are stripped bare using sharp objects such as pangas or spades. Bark is then dried and crushed to chew or consume.  In addition, the park’s fynbos species is also being unsustainably harvested for medicinal purposes.  The Cape Peninsula has more than 2,200 plant species - more plants than in the...