Invasive species – it sounds threatening, doesn’t it? These invaders, large and small, have been introduced into environments they do not originate from.
Invasive plants may look colourful and beautiful in your garden but can cause agricultural production losses, harm biodiversity and adversely impact human health. They grow and reproduce rapidly and are able to flourish in a variety of conditions, and are thus able to invade new habitats and out-compete indigenous plants.
In South Africa, invasive species are regulated through the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) (NEMBA) and its associated Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) Regulations.
Government calls on all South Africans to plant indigenous plants in their living and working environments as a practical and symbolic gesture towards the conservation of the country’s diverse biodiversity.
Below are some Category 1b invasive plants commonly found in gardens. According to the AIS Regulations, Category 1b invasive species must be controlled and, where possible, removed and destroyed. Any form of trade, transporting, importing and/ or planting is strictly prohibited.
Landowners’ obligations in relations to invasive plants:
Everyone is impacted directly or indirectly by invasive species – which means that we have a shared responsibility to manage the problem. It is thus the duty of every landowner to familiarise himself or herself with the listed invasive species, which can be found on http://www.invasives.org.za/legislation.html and to comply with the corresponding duties related to that category of species.
A person who is the owner of land on which a listed invasive species occurs must:
(a) notify any relevant competent authority, in writing, of the listed invasive species occurring on that land;
(b) take steps to control and eradicate the listed invasive species and to prevent it from spreading; and
(c) take all the required steps to prevent or minimise harm to biodiversity.
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