Invasive plants a huge cost to landowners
Clearing land covered with invasive alien plants can cost up to R10 000 a hectare.
SOUTHERN CAPE NEWS – “Increasingly, landowners in the Southern Cape are confronted with expenses in clearing their land of invasive alien plants, and to keep regrowth under control”, says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI).
These days legislation regulating the prevalence of invasive alien plants on private land comes into play when buying and selling property, so landowners are paying a lot more attention to the matter than previously was necessary.”
“Accoring to the laws governing invasive alien plants on private land, landowners should be aware of which invasive alien plants are growing on their land, and eradicate those plants where they occur,” says Meiring.
“For landowners in urban areas invasives are not such a big deal, but for landowners in rural and semi-urban areas this could be seriously problematic,” he explains. “A prime example is smallholdings on Wilderness Heights, Knysna and on the outskirts of Mossel Bay, where land is carpeted by black wattle, pines and blue gums, not to mention pampas grass, Madeira vein and Lantana.”
“Costs to clear land densely covered by invasives (eg black wattle) could be as high as R10 000/hectare for an initial clearing operation by contractors. For many landowners the task to clear their land, and to keep their land clear of regrowth, is often simply too costly and time consuming to consider.”
Nevertheless, continues Meiring, “the pressure is on landowners to bring the state of their land up to a standard (free of invasive alien plants), and the matter can no longer be ignored”.
“Question is, how does landowners deal with the costs associated with invasive alien plant management?”
Often easier said than done, landowners whose properties are badly affected by invasives should devise a simple strategy in tackling the problem, and deal with it in sections rather than biting off more than they can handle and keep under control.”
“Land cleared of invasive plants generally recovers by itself if regrowth of invasives are kept under control, and although natural vegetation is the ideal, even grass cover is preferable to wattle jungles.”
“So, our advice to effected landowners is to take it one step at a time, make steady progress and curtail costs as you go along.”
The article above appeared in the KnysnaPlett Herald online edition 25/3/2015.
Since October 2014 when the legislation was gazetted, I’ve been trying to create awareness about the invasive alien species in domestic gardens, along roads and in public spaces and the implications to property owners. Follow up articles will appear in the weeks to come.