Acacia galpinii (Monkey Thorn)Global warming, caused by the rise in the earth’s atmospheric temperature, is a well documented fact and is closely linked to the extreme weather conditions experienced worldwide. Many people assume that global warming is caused solely by gas emissions through the burning of oil and gas, but in fact according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations “between 25 and 30 percent of the greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere each year – 1.6 billion tonnes – is caused by deforestation." In an aim to counter this, each year from the 1st – 7th September South African’s come together to celebrate Arbor Week which, as the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs states, “aims to promote a better understanding of trees, particularly indigenous trees, and highlight the important role trees play in sustainable development and the livelihoods of people and their environment. Arbour Day encourages communities to participate in various greening activities within their own surroundings and raises awareness of South Africa’s urban greening initiatives."

Acacia galpinii (Monkey Thorn)Each year during Arbor Week a few indigenous trees are highlighted, including both common and rare species. The three trees of the year for 2009 are; Acacia galpinii (Monkey Thorn), Halleria lucida (Tree Fuchsia), and Pterocarpus rotundifolius (Round-leaved Teak). One company who has become a firm activist in South Africa’s greening initiatives is Culterra - who for over four decades has been supplying organic ameliorants, potting media, concrete paving, pebbles, wooden products as well as organic and chemical fertilizers to the public and nurseries. What many people don’t realise is that the company is an enthusiastic grower and supplier of indigenous tress to both the trade and retail sectors.

Culterra is also a proud supporter of sister company - the Green-a-Planet organisation - who are committed to planting a million indigenous trees in order to make a difference for the future generations.

This Arbor Week Culterra will not only have the Arbor Week 2009 indigenous trees for sale, but also a range of specials available to the public.

Culterra would like to offer a few interesting pieces of information about Global Warming and deforestation, as according to the University of the Western Cape (

1. Currently, 12 million hectares of forests are cleared annually - an area 1,3 times the size of KwaZulu Natal. Almost all of this deforestation occurs in the moist forests and open woodlands of the tropics.

2. At this rate all moist tropical forest could be lost by the year 2050, except for isolated areas in Amazonia, the Zaire basin, as well as a few protected areas within reserves and parks.

3. Some countries such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Costa Rica, and Sri Lanka are likely to lose all their tropical forests by the year 2010 if no conservation steps are taken.

4. Deforestation has become a problem as the conversion of forests to agricultural land is necessary to feed growing nations, and development of cash crops and cattle ranching, both of which are money earners.

5. Commercial logging (which supplies the world market with woods such as meranti, teak, mahogany and ebony) destroys trees as well as opening up forests for agriculture.

6. To compound the problem, the poor soils of the humid tropics do not support agriculture for long. Thus people are often forced to move on and clear more forests in order to maintain production.

7. South Africa's climate is such that less than 0,5% of its surface area is covered with indigenous forest – thus great care should be taken to conserve the little we have.

8. The World Resources Institute regards deforestation as one of the world's most pressing land-use problems.

This year do your part for the environment and plant a tree during Arbor Week! Culterra has a range of trees on special this September at 10% discount. Remember when planting your tree it is vital to utilise compost which will provide essential nutrients and improve the soil, and to make use of a layer of mulch to prevent excessive evaporation and drying of the soil in our harsh South African sun. For more information please visit

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