Invasive species clearing campaign in Jukskei Park

National Invasive Species Week, Juweel Park, Randburg National Invasive Species Week, Juweel Park, Randburg Kay Montgomery

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo launched National Invasive Species Week initiatives on Thursday 12 October, 2017 in Juweel Park, Jukskei Park, Randburg, Gauteng.

National Invasive Species Week is an awareness campaign that aims to highlight the destructive nature of invasive plants and animals on water supply, biodiversity, health and the environment.

During the festivities, a massive clearing operation took place along the Klein Jukskei River in Juweel Park.  Teams were deployed from various Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), Working for Water and Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ).

JCPZ is also working with the Klein Jukskei Greenbelt Initiative, an enterprising group of residents who are determined to remove invasive species and clear litter along the Klein Jukskei River which flows through their suburb.  To date, this joint venture has cleared 7km of riverine area - along the Klein Jukskei River.

The local community - under the banner of the Klein Jukskei Greenbelt Initiative - is also working hard to keep their local park free of invasive species. They have cleared over 3000 invasive species including bugweed (Solanum mauritianum), black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) and seringa (Melia azedarach).

“Invasive alien plants (IAPs) pose a direct threat not only to biodiversity, but also to water security, the ecological functioning of natural systems and the productive use of land. They intensify the impact of fires and floods and increase soil erosion” said Jenny Moodley, General Manager: Stakeholder and Public Relations, JCPZ, during her speech at the event.

An indigenous wild plum (Harpephyllum caffrum) was planted by dignitaries at this National Invasive Species Week event to demonstrate the importance of replacing bad plants with good plants. 

National List of Invasive Species

On 1 October, 2014, the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (No. 10 of 2004) (NEMBA) - Alien and Invasive Species (AIS) Regulations became law.

The National List of Invasive Species contains 556 invasive species which need to be regulated and controlled. The list includes: *Terrestrial and Fresh-water Plants (379); *Marine Plants (4); *Mammals (41); *Birds (24); *Reptiles (30); *Amphibians (7); *Fresh-water Fish (15); *Terrestrial Invertebrates (23); *Fresh-water Invertebrates (9); *Marine Invertebrates (17) and *Microbial Species (7).  

These species are further divided into four categories:

Category 1a:  These are invasive species which must be combatted and where possible, eradicated. Any form of trade or planting is strictly prohibited. Category 1a species are usually species which are newly established and have small populations.

Category 1b: These are established invasive species which must be controlled and wherever possible, removed and destroyed. Any form of trade or planting is strictly prohibited and landowners are obligated to control Category 1b plants and animals on their properties. A species management plan should be drafted for large properties.

Category 2: Invasive species, or species deemed to be potentially invasive, in which a permit, issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs, is required to carry out a restricted activity. Category 2 species include commercially important species such as pine, wattle and gum trees, as well as certain mammal species bred on game farms. It also includes alien fish species and reptiles and birds found in the exotic pet trade.

Category 2 species revert to Category 1b species when they are no longer under the control of the landowner or when found outside of the demarcated area, such as pines or gums in a wetland or protected area such as a nature reserve or national park.

Category 3: Invasive species which may remain in prescribed areas or provinces. Further planting, propagation or trade is however, prohibited.

Invasive Species and your property

The AIS Regulations state that anyone selling their property is required to notify the purchaser in writing of the presence of invasive species on that land. By not notifying the purchaser, the seller could be held liable for future costs associated with the removal or control of these invasive species, or damage caused due to the presence of invasive species such as damage to buildings and infrastructure by fire fuelled by species such as invasive gum and pine trees.

The inaugural National Invasive Species Week runs from 09-13 October, 2017. The week aims to highlight the importance of invasive species in relation to our economy, human health, food security, water supply and biodiversity.

National Invasive Species Week aims to raise awareness and increase public understanding around invasive plants and animals. Everyone can participate by removing invasive plants from their garden or by joining a local community hack group to remove invasives from their neighbourhood and replace them with indigenous plants.

For more information on invasive species and happenings, visit the Invasive Species South Africa website: www.invasives.org.za

Report by Sikhululekile Solwandle.