The Port Jackson, an Austalian plant, was originally introduced in the 19th Century to stabilise the dunes in the area. At the time, the city was under serious threat from encroaching sands, and the main streets were absolutely miserable with drifting swirling sand whenever the notorious coastal wind blew, so the willows were introduced to bind the dunes. But they became a problem, with no natural enemies, and took over large areas, and because they are very volatile plants, when there were fires, the heat destroyed all the indigenous vegetation totally. Eventually they were declared Noxious Weeds.It has cost a fortune to begin eradicating them, and is very labour intensive, but in this area at least, good progress has been made.
Monday, February 9, 2009
While we are in the area, we might as well take you along Marine Drive between Summerstrand and Schoenmakerskop. We featured the beacon the other day. If you travel away from town from there, you enter a Marine reserve, which, until recently, was covered with alien vegetation. However a concerted effort has been made to clear the Port Jackson Willows and now there are views across the dunes to the sea where you could previously only see scraggly bushes.