The Star Magoebas2008


Goliath Of A Tree Crowned.

Originally written by Sheree Bega and published in The Star Magoebas 2008

A pair of professional tree climbers will scale the tallest and biggest trees in Africa this weekend.   Leon Visser and Charles Green, both from the Western Cape, are climbing the eucalyptus trees on the Woodbush Estate in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo – the tallest in Africa at around 80m – and a massive mount ash tree in the KwaZulu Natal magoebas2008 saturdaystar2Midlands.

This comes after the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry asked the two climbers to accurately measure the trees, as tree-height measuring instruments are only accurate up to 40m. Both feature on the department’s new list of proposed “champion trees”, which seeks to protect trees of exceptional importance.

“There is national and international interest in these trees and therefore we decided that accurate measurements are important.” Said, Izak van der Merwe, a forestry scientist, who heads the project. At around 70m the mountain ash at the Benvie arboretum is the biggest tree in SA, if height, trunk diameter and crown size are combined.

Visser and Green will use measuring ropes, which will be suspended from the top of the trees that will be climbed. Van der Merwe said: “It’s a dangerous job, and heights are such that it would make most people weak at the knees. Think of trees taller that a 20 story building.”

Visser a professional arborist, said he “can’t wait” for the expedition. “It’s very exciting. I enjoy the challenge. We’re feeling a bit nervous, but I’m confident. We’re aware of the dangers.”

Van der Merwe said “ it was difficult to measure trees in a tightly clustered stand. “The question now is which one will be the champion of champions”