The development of lists of regulated alien taxa in South Africa

The development of lists of regulated alien taxa in South Africa
Moleseng C. Moshobane1,2, Sabrina Kumschick2, Ingrid Nänni1, John R. Wilson1,2
1Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
2Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Matieland 7602, South Africa            

The process of developing regulatory lists of alien and invasive taxa should be based on scientific evidence through an objective, transparent and consistent process. Here we review the development of the lists for the South African National Biodiversity Management Act (NEM: BA) alien and invasive species regulations. 

We compared the lists published in the national Government Gazette and assessed the changes in the taxa listed and their status. Minutes from expert workshops convened to inform the listing were reviewed and relevant information like the criteria for listing taxa were extracted from the minutes.

Three draft lists were published in the Government Gazette for public comment before the final list was published in August 2014, coming into force in October 2014. This list was further amended in May 2015.

Species on the NEM: BA Alien and Invasive species list were listed for various reasons. The main goal was to list species known or suspected to have pronounced negative impacts on natural ecosystems, or congeners of such species. The process endeavoured to get engagement with academics, conservation experts, managers and various stakeholders through inclusion either actively in workshops or through a public commenting process to achieve shared governance. A scoring tool based on the likelihood of invasion versus the impact of invasion was recommended for evaluating the risk of a species, but rarely used. We conclude with some recommendations for future refinements in the process.