A Virtual Tour of Eastern Cape Environs

typical Eastern Cape village A typical Eastern Cape village near Fort Cox College.
typical Eastern Cape village Closer view of a village near Fort Cox College.
eroded hillside pasture Erosion of hillside pastures is a widespread problem. Two potential causes are overgrazing and deforestation.
false thornveld Another consequence of overgrazing is the spread of "eastern thorn bushveld" (also called "false thornveld"). This vegetation type is characterized by loss of grass and increase of Acacia karoo and other woody species.
close-up of sweet thorn, Acacia karoo Close-up of sweet thorn, Acacia karoo. Thorns are up to 75mm in length.
karoo fuelwood Acacia karoo is cut up and sold as fuelwood. Each bag is worth about US$2.
wild olive, Olea europea subsp. africana Wild olive, Olea europea subsp. africana, is a beautiful and potentially valuable indigenous tree. Horticulturists are experimentally grafting Mediterranean olive scions onto wild olive understocks, in an effort to produce a locally-adapted olive crop.
The Great Fish River The Great Fish River, one of the largest rivers in the Eastern Cape.
Hogsback Mountain seen from the Tyumie River valley The Amatola Mountains, which range up to 2000 meters (6500 feet) in height, are less than an hour's drive from the University of Fort Hare and Fort Cox College. Shown here is Hogsback Mountain, 1845m (6053').
Auckland Forest as seen from Tyumie River valley Small patches of indigenous afromontane forest can be found in the Amatolas. This picture shows the Auckland Forest, just below the town of Hogsback. The lower forest margin is at about 800 meters (2600 feet), and the top of the ridge is about 1250 meters (4100 feet). Less than 0.25% of the land area of South Africa is closed canopy forest, and half of this is in the Eastern Cape Province.
indigenous forest in the Amatola Mountains The canopy trees in the afromontane forests, predominantly podocarps, may reach 30 to 40 meters in height. The tree just left of center in this picture is a cabbage tree, Cussonia spicata, and in the foreground are some aloes (Aloe spp.).
trunk of a large remnant yellowwood, Podocarpus falcatus These forests were heavily exploited for timber during the period of European colonization. Most remnants are now protected. This is the "Eastern Cape Monarch" a large outeniqua, or false, yellowwood, Podocarpus falcatus. It is estimated to be about 800 years old, and its trunk is 2.7 meters (more than eight feet) in diameter.
canopy of a large remnant yellowwood, Podocarpus falcatus Here is the canopy of the "Eastern Cape Monarch," 38 meters (124 feet) in height.
plantation of Pinus patula Over 144,000 hectares of fast-growing softwood plantations have been established in the Eastern Cape Province. One of the most common species is Mexican pine, Pinus patula, shown here.

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