Alien & invasive species regulations updated

Our government has recently published an updated list of alien and invasive species as part of NEMBA (National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act) which affects property owners across the country.

The new regulations include 14 fish, 9 reptiles, 9 birds, 15 mammals and 106 plants all listed in Category 1a or 1b – both of which require compulsory control or management. Property owners are required by law to check if any of these species are on your property, and then if found and depending on its classification, you need to either remove (Category 1a) or submit an invasive species management control programme explaining why you should be granted a permit to keep them on your property (Category 1b).

It is up to each and every one of us to ensure that our local biodiversity is not threatened by invasive species, and it starts in our very own gardens and on our properties.

Invasive plants

Among newly listed invaders are a number of plants commonly found in local gardens, which might surprise gardeners, including three water-loving reed-like plants, three really common groundcovers, three pretty shrubs and three climbers with exotic flowers, as shown below.

Water plants: Yellow water lily (Nymphaea mexicana) , snake grass (Equisetum hyemale) and yellow flag iris (Iris pseudacorus).

Groundcovers: Periwinkle (Vinca major, V. minor), wild strawberry (Duchesnea indica) and wandering Jew (Tradescantia fluinensis, T. zebrina)

Shrubs: Canary-bird bush (Crotalaria agatiflora), bird-of-paradise flower (Caesalpinia gilliesii) and elderberry (Sambucus canadensis, S. nigra)

Creepers: Coral creeper (Antigonon leptopus), Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia elegans) and bananadilla (Passiflora tripartita var. mollissima)

Invasive animals

For homeowners that keep ducks and terrapins as pets, it is important to note that mallard ducks and red–eared slider terrapins require compulsory control, as well as management plans and permits to keep. For those with fish-filled dams, Rainbow trout, small and large mouthed bass and Nile tilapia area also listed.

For those with aquarium fish, it’s important to note that the blue gill sunfish is a now a Category 1b invasive alien species.

Next steps

All the updated legislation and full lists of alien species are available for download from the Invasive Species South Africa website – please review them to ensure none of these species are on your land.

For gardeners, it is advised to remove and destroy any offending plants and replace them in your garden with indigenous alternatives. See the Invasive Species South Africa website for ideas, or speak to an expert at your local indigenous nursery.

Further information can be found on Invasive Species South Africa website or their Facebook page. Alternatively contact your local municipality or Nature Conservation association for advice, or get in touch SANBI at alienplants@sanbi.org.za Tel: 021 799 8762.

Images via Invasive Species South Africa, SANBI and Wikipedia.

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