Invasive alien plants (IAPs) can have numerous impacts on biodiversity, ecosystems and society in South Africa. These wide-ranging impacts led to national legislation being published under the NEMBA Alien and Invasive Species Regulations (18 September 2020) and Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 43 of 1983 (CARA) to drive the eradication, control, and management of IAPs.
The specific species of IAP determines the category that it falls under in legislation (e.g. 1a, 1b, 2, and 3), which further defines the rate of urgency required when attending to the IAP species. For example, landowners with IAP species that fall under category 1a must aim to eradicate these IAP species from their land as soon as possible.
The type of IAP species also determines the clearing control method to be used when eradicating, controlling or managing each IAP species (for example, clear cutting, ring barking, herbicide applications, etc). If fire is an appropriate clearing method for a particular IAP species, the landowner will need to be aware of the applicable legislation governing fires in South Africa, namely the National Veld and Forest Fire Act 101 of 1998, before using this method. Please refer to code requirement 1.12 of the SIZA Environmental Standard, which states that permits are required for controlled fires. Under the guidance notes, it further explains the following on fire management:
“In terms of the National Veld and Forest Act (Act no. 101 of 1998), landowners are responsible for the prevention and management of all fires that occur on their property. A fire management plan for the property is required that details emergency procedures in the case of controlled and uncontrolled fires. Assistance to comply with the act can be provided where landowners and their neighbours form a Fire Protection Association (FPA).”