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Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

 

Johannesburg Zoo

 

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Juweel Park in Region E is situated along the Klein Jukskei Spruit. Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo during the week of Valentine’s Day showed love and awareness to this area by removing alien invasive plant species.

Invasive plant species along water bodies spreads at a rapid rate and ends up choking the watercourses and can cause irreparable damage to the environment.

Juweel Park 4

In total there are 200 species of plants that are declared weeds or invaders in South Africa. All declared plants growing within 30m of the 1:50 flood line of a river or waterbody must be removed.

A team of EPWP (government expanded public works programme) workers and City Park’s Integrated Catchment Management in partnership Klein Jukskei Greenbelt Initiative team tackled a forest of weeping willows, bug weed, grey poplars and black wattles.

Juweel Park 2

Invasive alien plants are combated by detecting it at an early stage and eradicating them before they become established.

Salix babylonica or Weeping Willow is native to China and is most commonly found along water’s edge in parks and large landscapes because of its love for moisture. It is an invasive species because of its root system, it naturally grows towards water. Weeping willows can spread roots into the bed of a watercourse, slowing the flow of water and reducing aeration.

Trees form thickets which divert water outside the main watercourse or channel causing flooding and erosion where the stream banks are vulnerable. The leaves create a flush of organic matter when they drop in autumn, reducing water quality and available oxygen and directly threatening aquatic plants and animals. These factors, together with the amount of water willows use, can damage stream health. During the month of celebrating Wetlands, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo’s ecosystems enhancement and open space management department thought it appropriate to halt the spread at Juweel Park.

Juweel Park 5

The regions maintenance team will be cutting up and chipping the invasive trees during the week. The fight against these plants has begun and steps to their eradication has been implemented.