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Additional info for Burning Table Mountain: An Environmental History of Fire on the Cape Peninsula

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Within local government, these fears were shared by the Cape Town Municipality, and amplified by a water crisis in the early 1900s, resulted in the replacement of plantations atop Table Mountain with reservoirs. Planting continued on the slopes below, as the city urgently needed timber, and elaborate safety precautions suggested that plantations could be protected from fire. However, the fragmented nature of landownership on the Peninsula complicated fire management. The spectre of large destructive wildfires raging uncontrollably through plantations of inflammable introduced trees on the slopes above Cape Town continued to haunt the Peninsula’s foresters.

W. Janssens. He made three long journeys between 1803 and 1805, returning to Europe with Janssens after the British took over in early 1806. Travelling through the Outeniqua region of the southern Cape, Lichtenstein wrote: The soil is poor, and is of that description that belongs to sourfields . . [I]t is common to burn the lands every year, by which means they are manured, and the foundation laid for a wholesome vegetation. But this must be done with great caution, lest the fire should spread too far and catch the bushes, by which means it might be communicated to the forests, when incalculable mischief would ensue.

I]t is common to burn the lands every year, by which means they are manured, and the foundation laid for a wholesome vegetation. But this must be done with great caution, lest the fire should spread too far and catch the bushes, by which means it might be communicated to the forests, when incalculable mischief would ensue. Lichtenstein observed that the region’s poor soils are ‘manured’ through burning, and didn’t condemn veld burning per se. 6 William Burchell (1781–1863), who had served a botanical apprenticeship at Kew, arrived in Cape Town in November 1810.

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