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Case study

Protecting the biodiversity in our forests

The long-term sustainability of timber supply is of strategic significance to PG Bison.

We are members of the Forestry South Africa (‘FSA’) environmental management committee, which oversees the environmental standards for forestry in South Africa. Management works closely with communities, NGOs, civil interest groups and the government’s department of environmental and natural resource management.

We work with a number of government departments and NGOs to eradicate alien invasive species, restore natural wetlands and maintain weeding and fire prevention.

PG Bison’s North East Cape Forest (‘NECF’) received a Forestry Stewardship Council (‘FSC®’) certification in January 2018, which is valid for five years. The NECF accounts for 79% of PG Bison’s plantations.

The NECF has a land area of 76 393 ha, of which 33 601 ha is planted and the balance of 42 792 ha consists of either protected wetlands, or is being used for other agricultural activities.

The areas that are not protected or suitable for commercial forestry are used for cattle farming. The NECF herd of 4 298 cattle plays an important role in protecting the biodiversity.

An effective grazing programme optimises conditions in the veld in terms of specie richness and maintaining the optimum biodiversity within the plantations. The herd also plays an important role in reducing fire risk. Our own farmers, supported by local and state veterinarians, manage the cattle on a commercial basis.

Several species of wild animals previously common to the area have been reintroduced, while other species like Cape Grysbok have immigrated naturally. The game forms part of an integrated environmental plan and includes species such as Burchell’s Zebra, Blesbok, Mountain Reedbuck, Southern Reedbuck, Grey Rhebok, Grey Duiker, Bushbuck, African striped weasel and Black Wildebeest. We have identified and monitor Red Data bird species, such as the Wattled Crane, Grey Crowned Crane and Blue Crane that reside in our plantations.

In our southern Cape plantation, we participate in a forum, the Knysna Elephant Landowners, which, together with the South African National Parks, assists in the research of the rare Knysna elephant.

Our non-commercial forestry areas have been mapped using a vegetation mapping standard developed by the South African forestry industry that records information on fauna and flora, rare and endangered species, as well as areas of special interest, such as archaeological, paleontological and historical sites. The conservation management plans monitor and implement actions to mitigate and manage the impact on the environment in these special identified areas.

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