National Arbor Week (celebrated on the first week of September) calls on all South Africans to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management.
To highlight the importance of planting trees, Sappi together with the SANParks Skukuza Nursery, has made available 2,000 Warburgia salutaris (pepperbark tree) saplings to the Endangered Wildlife Trust for their Warburgia salutaris project in the Soutpansberg Protected Area in Limpopo Province.
The saplings were originally propagated through the cooperation between Sappi, ARC Nelspruit and SANBI Nelspruit and held at the Skukuza Indigenous Nursery awaiting distribution to qualifying Warburgia projects.
Since 1936, Sappi and its group partners,SANBI Nelspruit, Fort Hare University, ARC Nelspruit and the Shaw Research Centre, have propagated and provided over 40,000 seedlings to traditional healers, urban and rural communities and created seed orchards in safe and protected estates.
Sappi has 166 important conservation areas (ICAs) listed on its forestry plantations in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, among them, six declared nature reserves covering an area of 6,486 hectares, it’s clear that the pulp and paper company prioritizes the conservation of biodiversity.
“In the same way that customers want certified products, they also want more detail on responsible biodiversity management and that is why our 2025 Sustainability Targets are aligned with the United Nation´s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and focusing on SDG 15 (Life on Land). Our aim is to improve the health or condition of our biodiversity habitats – our ICAs – by 10%,” said Dr David Everard, Sappi Forests’ Environmental Manager.
In KwaZulu-Natal, 1,600 saplings that were propagated by Sappi’s Richmond Nursery and the Sappi Shaw Research Centre, have been supplied to the Sibaya Coastal Precinct. These trees form an important part of the natural vegetation rehabilitation programme, which is being undertaken within the precinct, whilst at the same time forming a future seed orchard in a secure area once the trees mature.
The trees are provided at no charge and in return, the recipients start to protect and preserve the resources of our planet and make seeds available for future propagation requirements. “Our job as responsible custodians of extensive areas of land is to limit those impacts on the natural environment,” added Dr Everard.