Tuesday December 12, 2017

Latest Regulations re Invasive Plants

Your chance to speak up on government regulations aimed at managing foreign flora and fauna

On February 12 the government published a set of draft regulations which affect gardeners and property owners across the country. The draft regulations are related to the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No 10 of 2004), and contain lists of invasive species which require a range of control measures, including monitoring, removal and permits if they are found on your property.

The draft proposals have been issued for public comment for a period of 30 days. This means members of the public can submit comments, objections or documentation relating to any aspect of the regulations or lists. 

The deadline for submissions is 4pm on March 14. All submissions need to be e-mailed to  or posted to the Deputy Director General, Environmental Programmes, Environmental Affairs, Attention: Dr Guy Preston, Private Bag X4390, Cape Town 8001. They can also be hand-delivered to the Deputy Director-General, Environmental Programmes, Environmental Affairs, Attention: Dr Guy Preston, 14 Loop Street, Cape Town.

Two lists

The new draft proposals combine invasives already listed in the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 43 of 1983, with two new lists relating to invasive species and prohibited species. The act lists 198 invasive plant species in three categories.

The draft proposals are divided into a national list of invasive species and a prohibited alien species list. The first refers to invasive species in South Africa. The prohibited list refers to species that may not enter South Africa.

● The national list of invasive species includes: plants (381), mammals (40), birds (14), reptiles (24), amphibians (7), fresh-water fish (17), terrestrial invertebrates (23), fresh-water invertebrates (8), marine invertebrates (13) and microbial species (7). Total: 534 species.

● The prohibited alien species list includes: plants (239), mammals (18), birds (39), reptiles (14), amphibians (10), fresh water fish (110), marine fish (1), marine invertebrates (3), fresh water invertebrates (6), terrestrial invertebrates (143) and microbial species (7). Total: 590 species.

 Categories

 The 534 species on the national list of invasive species are classified into four categories:

● Category 1a: invasive species that may not be owned, imported into South Africa, grown, moved, sold, given as a gift or dumped in a waterway. These species need to be controlled on your property, and officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs must be allowed access to monitor or assist with control.

● Category 1b: invasive species that may not be owned, imported into South Africa, grown, moved, sold, given as a gift or dumped in a waterway. Category 1b species are major invaders that may need government assistance to remove. All Category 1b species must be contained, and in many cases they already fall under a government sponsored management programme.

Among the birds listed as Category 1b are the Indian myna (Acridotheres tristis), Indian house crow (Corvus splendens), roseringed parakeet (Psittacula krameri), Eurasian starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and the mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos). Mallards are a threat to our indigenous yellow-billed ducks as a result of hybridisation.

Significant concessions can be seen in the draft regulations relating to gums, jacarandas, Monterey pines and camphor trees (now Cat 3). These concessions recognise the value of the beekeeping industry, the historical importance of century-old camphor trees on wine estates, and finally, the cultural importance of Monterey pines (Pinus radiata) to Cape Town and jacarandas to Pretoria, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg.

Six gum species (Eucalyptus spp.) are listed as Category 1b within riparian areas, declared protected areas and within listed ecosystems identified for conservation. Trees with a diameter of more than 400mm and height of 10m are excluded in all urban areas.

While jacarandas remain Category 1b in most provinces, they are exempt from all legislation in urban areas.

● Category 2: These are invasive species that can remain in your garden, but only with a permit, which is granted under very few circumstances. Examples of Category 2 invaders include watercress (Nasturtium officinale), Burmese python (Python molurus), peacock (Pavo cristata), Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis).

● Category 3: These are invasive species that can remain in your garden. However, you cannot propagate or sell these species and must control them in your garden. In riparian zones or wetlands all Category 3 plants become Category 1b plants.

Examples of Category 3 species are Celtis sinensis, Chinese maple (Acer buergerianum), camphor trees (Cinnamomum camphora), century plant (Agave americana), the painted reed frog (Hyperolius marmoratus) and orchid tree (Bauhinia variegata).

 

 

These draft regulations “National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No 10 of 2004)” make for interesting reading and may be downloaded from the Government Printers web site.

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