Photographic Competition 2018, Biodiversity and Nature in Pledge Nature Reserve
Our judges Warren Fleming-Photographer at Large, Esther Townsend indigenous plant expert and Ricardo L. van Lingen artist, curator and co-owner of AvoPomme, were impressed with the excellent quality of the photographs submitted.
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Welcome to Pledge Nature Reserve
Pledge Nature Reserve was declared in terms of a Provincial Government Gazette Notice of 11 October 1991 a Local Nature Reserve and covers approximately 10ha and is administered by the Pledge Nature Reserve Trust Nowadays it is hard to believe that less than a century ago this green heart of Knysna had been reduced to a brickfield and thereafter used as a dumping ground, which sullied the once clear streams. Concerned townsfolk were instrumental in having the Reserve proclaimed and negotiated a long term lease with the Knysna Municipality. What followed was a concerted and eventually highly successful, attempt to eradicate alien vegetation and restore the place to its original natural splendour.
Dams were created to trap the silt and purify the water which eventually flows into the lagoon. Pools are encircled by indigenous trees, thereby forming an attractive centrepiece to the lower area of the Reserve which is easily accessible as it is only 200m from the main road. Here, those who may not want, or are unable to walk the trails can relax on one of the many benches and experience the peace and tranquillity which Pledge Nature Reserve offers.
Without doubt for those who can, it is well worth following the meandering trails along the streams to the Reserve’s highest point, where the view over the town and across the water to the distant Knysna Heads is the ultimate reward. Our very popular full-moon walks to this viewpoint, adds an unusual dimension to this experience.
The Reserve falls within the Cape Floral Kingdom, which, with its 8600 plant species, is the worlds' richest temperate flora. The upper sections of Pledge Nature Reserve is Fynbos and it is our priority to manage this area actively to ensure its survival. The lower-lying areas consist of Riverine Thicket and wetland vegetation with mostly locally indigenous species, but over the years some other indigenous species have been introduced. The species count to date is in excess of 300 species, making it an ideal place for people of all ages to view the unique indigenous flora of the Southern Cape.
Before reclamation work began on Pledge Nature Reserve, bird-life was essentially non-existent. Few birds were attracted to the area because of the sterile wattle thickets. In the early 1990’s, no more than 47 species were recorded, while by the end of the 1990’s some 80 and in 2016, 90 species had been sighted, reflecting positively on the health of the reserve.
A significant opportunity exists to research small mammals, reptiles and amphibians found in the Reserve. From casual sightings it is obvious that animal and reptile life in the Reserve is growing and it would be of interest to know that there are small buck, porcupine, mongoose, spotted genet, and a breeding colony francolin all living in this urban sanctuary.
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