Clanwilliam Cedar Trees
The endemic Clanwilliam cedar tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis) occurs only in the Cederberg mountains, 270 kilometres north of Cape Town, South Africa. It represents one of 1,000 surviving conifer species in the world. The number of trees has declined dramatically over the past two centuries, partly due to unsustainable exploitation and partly due to an increase in fire frequency, and is now categorized as endangered on the Red Data List, and is at serious risk of extinction.
Presented by Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, in association with CapeNature, the annual Clanwilliam Cedar tree planting ceremony takes place in the rural village of Heuningvlei, South Africa. The initiative is a greatly anticipated botanical event for the local community, and has taken on even more significance following devastating fires that raged through the Cederberg in January 2013 and destroyed nearly 30% of the Cederberg Wilderness area.
Members of local groups such as the Botanical Society, the Wildflower Society and the Cederberg Conservancy also participate, as well as children from local primary schools, as the programme forms an important part of their environmental and conservation education. The day of conservation starts when each guest is given the opportunity to plant their own cedar tree in the grove and surrounding wilderness area. To date, the Cedar Tree Project has planted more than 1,000 young cedar trees in the Cederberg area.