Invasive Species Consulting
What’s the difference between an alien species and an invasive one?
Quite a lot, actually. South Africa is host to over 10, 000 introduced, or alien, plant species. Most of these are benign and many even require human intervention to survive (just think of all the pests that attack roses, for example!). Out of this list of 10, 000 plants, fewer than 400 are able to thrive so well in their adopted country that they threaten local natural systems. These are the invasive aliens that require some measure of control to limit the damage they can cause to our fragile ecosystems.
To this end, the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, which governs invasive species in South Africa was written into law in 2004. In October 2014 the Regulations for this act were published which included, amongst other things, a list of all the plants and animals which are considered problematically invasive in the country. This list divides all invasive species into four groups (depending on the severity of their impact) each of which have different management implications.
Category 1a: Invasive species which must be controlled and eradicated. Any form of trade or planting is strictly prohibited.
Category 1b: Invasive species which must be controlled and, wherever possible, removed and destroyed. Any form of trade or planting is strictly prohibited.
Category 2: Invasive species or species deemed potentially invasive, in that a permit is required to carry out a restricted activity. Category 2 species include commercially important species such as pine, wattle and gum trees.
Category 3: Invasive species which may remain in prescribed areas or provinces. Further planting, propagation or trade is however prohibited.
Any listed species occurring within a riparian zone, automatically becomes a Category 1b species due to the elevated sensitivity of these habitats.
It is now the responsibility of all landowners to know, understand and declare all listed invasive species occurring on their land or under their control.
Did you know?
Which of these species is NOT from South Africa?
Did you say ‘none’? If you did, you are correct! These are the Black-faced Impala, Kenyan Black Rhinoceros and the Lesser Kudu.
Did you know that you are NOT ALLOWED to have the Lesser Kudu on your property, and that if you wanted to keep the Impala or Rhino, you’d need a special permit from the Department of Environmental Affairs to do so?
Don’t worry! Not many people do know, but that is all changing with the publication of the Regulations for the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act in October 2014. This document outlines and lists all species declared to be invasive in South Africa. But it also makes all landowners responsible for declaring and dealing with any of these species on their land or under their control.
In order to comply with the Act, all landowners must submit a declaration to the department – especially if you are selling or planning to sell your land. HWS have a team to conduct the declaration for your premises and submit it on your behalf to the relevant authorities.
So you’re selling your house (or you’re buying one).
Which of these plants requires immediate removal in terms of South Africa’s Invasive Species Act (NEM:BA)?
But, they look the same, right? Actually, the one on the right is a really bad alien plant which, by law, requires immediate removal in a way that ensures it doesn’t spread it’s seeds (so don’t put it in the back of a bakkie and drive to the dump – you’ll be spreading the seeds all the way there!!).
Human Wildlife Solutions have a team of specialists who can advise on what species you might have (even unknowingly) on your property as well as the best way to get rid of them. If you are selling a property, you must declare what listed invasive species you have and, as a buyer, you should insist the seller gives you a copy. You might be stuck with a hefty bill if the Department of Environmental Affaris locates listed species on your property, and without a seller’s Declaration, you have no recourse but to pay up. We can also assist you in applying for a permit to retain certain species (some pet birds and reptiles for example).