During the last week in April, SANParks auctioned off about 400m³ of native and foreign hardwoods, contributing about R615000 to its coffers. Bob Hopkin, Garden Route correspondent for the Herald in Port Elizabeth, reports timber on offer included blackwood – an Australian species introduced in the 1900s to replace domestic hardwoods after intensive exploitation – the prized yellowwood, stinkwood, candlewood and ironwood.
Special SANParks projects manager Len du Plessis said: "The forests are carefully mapped and divided into perceived blocks, compartments and sub-compartments, although there is no visible indication to the public of their extent. "Within these divisions we plot the position of every mature hardwood tree and monitor its condition and age. If a tree has fallen naturally, we withdraw it.
Du Plessis said the lifespan of an Australian blackwood averaged 100 years, while indigenous trees lived for between 200 and 300 years. Fewer than two trees per hectare of forest are targeted for harvesting, so there is no perceived effect on the appearance or eco-system of the forest.