Invasive Alien Species Committee2008-12-28
For those of you who do not yet know, the City of Cape Town has established an
Invasive Alien Species Committee. It's South Peninsula Invasive Alien Species
Programme has already been initiated. Some background information follows below.
Alien plants and animals are introduced to countries outside their natural distribution
range either intentionally or unintentionally. Examples of intentional introductions
are plants for gardens such as the Manatoka (Myoporum tenuifolium) or for dune
stabilization such as Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops). The house crow (Corvus
splendens) hitch hiking on ships to an adopted country is an example of an
unintentional introduction. Not all alien species are invasive, but some do become
invasive and have to be controlled to prevent them from out competing indigenous
species resulting in the loss of biodiversity. Invasive alien plants also create a
serious fire hazard due to a large fuel load and highly flammable oils.
Invasive alien plants are found on state land, private land surrounding the Table
Mountain National Park (TMNP) and even on TMNP land itself. Seeds from these
infestations re-infest land which has previously been cleared. Moreover, invasive
alien plant infestation is often misguidedly used by landowners as a motivation for
inappropriate development approvals.
The alien plant management model that worked well in the past was the Ukuvuka
Campaign which functioned as a multi-partner, coordinated, "umbrella" model. It was
successful because it created a great deal of awareness, had sufficient capacity
and enjoyed significant funding.
However, Ukuvuka no longer operates within the City of Cape Town. The city
appointed an Invasive Alien Species Coordinator, Louise Stafford, to develop a
citywide Invasive Alien Species strategy and to coordinate the implementation thereof.
Louise is a dynamic and capable leader who also heads up the South Peninsula
Invasive Alien Species Committee, a committee consisting of stakeholders in the Far
South responsible for coordinating invasive alien species (IAS) management. This
model of cooperative IAS management will be rolled out to the rest of the city over the
next two years. The members developed and agreed to a Terms of Reference to
guide the activities of the committee and meet every three months.
I am the representative of the Far South Peninsula Community Forum on the Committee
and one of my tasks is to keep you informed.
Members serving on the working committee are mandated to act on behalf of their
respective agencies and constituencies. These mandates include the transfer of
information between the working group and the agencies or role players. The people
on this committee need to be committed in order to achieve the aims and objects of the
management strategy. Among other things, their job includes evaluating actions
against specific targets articulated in this management strategy and, where needed,
developing further strategies for a coordinated and efficient system to achieve their
goals. To do this they need to communicate with all relevant stakeholders and role
players including the public and relevant politicians. Without political "buy-in" the
Strategy is unlikely to be achieved.
The South Peninsula IAS programme coordinates IAS activities in the area South of
the Silvermine Mountain Range.
After some debate, the Committee decided to implement the strategy in the area
known as the Cape Peninsula Protected Natural Environment and all properties
immediately abutting it.
The chosen project area is divided into four principle sections:
Fish Hoek Gap / Noordhoek Ampitheatre.
Kommetjie & Glencairn
Red Hill & Plateau Road
Simonstown and False Bay Coast.
The coordination committee aims to raise awareness about the negative impacts of
invasive alien species and to call upon landowners to keep IAS under control on their
properties. These actions are underpinned by National legislation, the Conservation of
Agricultural Resources (Act, 43 of 1983) (CARA), City of Cape Town Fire and
Community Safety By-laws and the Working for Water policy. As a last resort these
can all be invoked to ensure that invasive alien plants are controlled. Land users
(including private landowners) in these areas who fail to control invasive alien
vegetation on their properties would be coerced by means of an enforcement
strategy that involves directives, summonses and prosecutions. Directives calling for
action are already being served on various land owners in these areas (including the
State and municipality).
Invaded properties in a particular zone (whether privately or publicly owned) will be
identified. The owners will then be notified in writing that they have to initiate an alien
clearing programme and are informed of applicable methods to achieve this. Those
who respond by providing an acceptable invasive alien plant management plan with
clear time frames, will be encouraged and helped where possible. The clearing plan
will be put on record and implementation will be actively monitored.
Summonses will only be issued to those who do not provide a satisfactory response
to the initial directive.
It is also important that clearing of alien infestations takes place in a systematic way.
The Committee therefore agreed that all clearing initiatives need to be coordinated and
integrated into a broader plan to control weeds and invader plants in the South
Peninsula. As a result all problems and requests in respect of invasive alien plants
that are submitted to any authority, whether local government, Table Mountain National
Park, etc., are first screened through the Committee.
Although the IAS Committee was established to ensure the removal of invasive alien
plants, it is only fitting that we should provide alternatives to replace these plants. We
have therefore attached a list of suitable indigenous trees which has kindly been
provided by Dr Pat Holmes.
If you would like to become more involved we have a list of groups that actively
remove alien vegetation in the South Peninsula.
For more information please contact
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