The website further explains that the function of bark is to protect the internal energy transport systems of the tree, and these internal systems are responsible for the transport of nutrients and water between the leaves and roots. However, once the bark is removed, these systems dry out and the tree can no longer feed itself. Removal of even a vertical strip of bark will harm the tree, perhaps even kill it. This is why bark stripping is so destructive.
Also read: Local trees in danger due to bark stripping
Painting the bark of targeted tree species has been suggested many times to help prevent bark stripping, and has been successfully employed throughout Cape Town and other areas, reports Friends of Table Mountain.
Last week, Neil from the group, was invited to a demonstration at Ardene Gardens, where arborist Paul Barker was painting some Camphor trees to prevent bark stripping. They also inspected a cite in Claremont where previously bark-stripped Fever trees were painted preventatively, and are seeming to do well.
“We believe preventative painting is an important part of a holistic strategy to prevent bark stripping, and offers a lot of value in particular to protect the few remaining large Assegai, Cape Beech and Cape Holly’s left in the forest. The mature trees form an indispensable part of the forests ecology, and some species take many years to become seed bearing, like the Stinkwoods that take up to 60 years to mature, and are now functionally extinct in Newlands Forest.”
It will, however, be an enormous task, with a strategy to target the most sought-after trees first, with periodical re-painting required every three years thereafter.
Pictures: Facebook / Willem Boshoff