Categories: Environmental
January 21, 2019
| On 4 weeks ago

Indigenous trees in South Africa are being threatened

South Africa is home to more than 1 800 indigenous species of trees and shrubs, which are being threatened by industry, population and invasive plants. Some have become protected because of their rarity or because they have great commercial use, which in not controlled.

The National Forests Act of 1998 says certain tree species can be identified and declared as protected and these species may not be cut, disturbed, damaged or destroyed. Furthermore products from these trees may not be not be collected, removed, transported, exported, donated, purchased or sold. Trees that grow naturally in forests are also protected in terms of the Act.

“The main objective of the National Forests Act, 1998 is to promote the sustainable management and development of forests and to provide protection for certain forests and trees. This said protection is provided through the protection of all natural forests (Section 7 (1), the protection of all trees declared to be protected in terms of section 12(1) of the Act, and the regulation of certain activities in a proclaimed State forest (Section 23(1)(a) – (k)). It should be noted that there are other environmental legislation administered by other State Departments that also regulate natural resources.”

Some foundations need to proclaim a tree as protected.

  • The Eco system is most important consideration when proclamation – You need to research whether the tree plays a dominant role in the functioning of the Eco system.
  • Spiritual or landscape value attached to the species of tree can also be a valid reason for proclamation.
  • Distinction caused by commercial use eg. Paper, timber or furniture .

Can anyone apply to protect a tree species.

Yes…you can get an application to the responsible official in each province. Each application will be evaluated on merit before a decision is taken whether or not to issue a license (some may come with conditions). The decisions will be made in line with national policy and guidelines.

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry receive a long list of proposed tree species for protection from the public and stakeholders. A panel of experts and the Department will in turn evaluate with the final list published by notice in the Government Gazette and newspapers, after a public review. We have a huge range of indigenous South African Trees that help keep our tree species sustainable and are beautiful for any garden. Do your bit and plant only indigenous trees in your garden.