African Design Magazine July 2016 - Page 62

Landscaping SALI Awards The African Green Pigeon, Turacos (Louries) and the Crowned Hornbill, which is an occasional visitor to the estate, feast on the bright red arils of the large seeds of the Trichilia dregeana (Forest Natal Mahogany) tree. Green figs on the Ficus sur (Broom Cluster Fig) – a tall semi-deciduous tree of damp forest areas – provide food for many birds and mammals, including Vervet Monkeys, when the figs are red and ripe. The Leitch Landscapes teams have been responsible for ongoing ‘environmental landscape work’, including original landscape construction and maintenance, since 1996. At present the staff complement on site is 55 persons. Regulations have been put in place and suggestions made concerning vegetation management by the Zimbali Estate Management Association (ZEMA), over the years. One of the most important aspects of maintenance is that all areas are required to be kept free of alien invasive plants at all times, following the ZEMA Invasive Alien Plants programme which was drawn up with advice from Nichols and practical field botanist, Dr Elsa Pooley. The methods of control are required not only to be effective but to be environmentally safe. The stretches of open water in the wetland areas and on the golf course need to be cleared of Pistia stratiotes (Water Lettuce) and Nymphaea mexicana (Mexican or Yellow Waterlily), while the notorious Chromolaena odorata (Triffid Weed) has been the main offender in the forests. All three are listed Category 1b invaders in the regulations under the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) and can alter the integrity and functioning of natural ecosystems. They are required by this law to be controlled and, wherever possible, to be removed and destroyed. Any form of trade in Category 1b species is strictly prohibited. Maintenance needs to take into account the suitability for wildlife as well as the c