On Saturday, August 15, Perdeby joined GreenUp, the environmental society, on a mission to battle the Lantana camara (wild sage), an invader plant, on the side of a koppie behind the LC de Villiers experimental farm.
The ground no longer belongs to the university, but to Innovation Hub. The wild sage infestation has reached more than halfway up the slope, and has become a serious problem in the area. Jacqueline Brown, of GreenUP, says that the infestation is not a problem on its own. A growth area of that size, however, makes other areas vulnerable to infection. The seeds of the plant can be spread through bird droppings to other areas in Pretoria.
The problem must thus be dealt with at the source. Wild sage is not the only invader in the area. Also growing on the same hillside is an infestation of whattles (Acacia saligna).
Brown believes that the problem has been occurring for the past three to five years. “As much as we like to think this is a natural environment, it isn’t,” says Brown, referring to the city around the area.
Wild sage grows thickly over other vegetation, droping many seeds. It then dehydrates the ground, resulting in a loss of biodiversity. This particular ecosystem relies on diverse vegetation to support the small animals that rely on it.
The koppie has potential as a research sight. It could also potentially be a walkway for varsity students. To fully restore the area will however take many follow-up visits. The next is on the September 5 in honour of Arbor Day