No species of wild flora endangered by international trade
Contributors: M. Pfab & D. Raimondo
South Africa is party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). International trade of CITES-listed plants is managed via CITES regulations that were promulgated in March 2011 in terms of section 97 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA), Act No. 10 of 2004.
South Africa has established a Scientific Authority (Section 60 of NEMBA) to monitor the legal and illegal trade in wildlife and make Non-Detriment Findings (NDFs) on the impacts of international trade. The Scientific Authority is a committee of experts comprised of a scientist from each of the nine provincial conservation authorities of South Africa, together with representatives from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the South African National Parks (SANParks), the National Zoological Gardens, and one member to represent museums. The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) coordinates and chairs the Scientific Authority. South Africa’s Management Authority, which regulates the trade via a system of permits, is coordinated by the DEA and is implemented through the nine provincial conservation authorities.
Target 11 Outcomes for 2020:
11.1. Non-Detriment Findings for all cycad species conducted.
11.2. Biodiversity Management Plan for Critically Endangered and Endangered cycads implemented.
11.3. Listing proposals for species threatened by international trade but not yet included on one of the CITES appendices completed.
11.4. Early warning system to flag new species potentially threatened by international trade implemented.
There are 852 South African plant taxa listed on the appendices to CITES. Forty-four of these are listed on Appendix I, meaning that commercial trade is not allowed. The majority of Appendix I species are cycads (91%). Despite being listed on CITES Appendix I, wild plants are still being illegally harvested. Two species of cycad have gone extinct in South Africa since 2005 and a further four are on the brink of extinction. Cycads are South Africa’s most threatened group of plants and ensuring their protection is an urgent priority.
Of the 808 plant species included on Appendix II, 245 are in trade, while the rest are listed for look-alike reasons. Between 2012 and 2014, the Scientific Authority revised the plant species to be included on the list of Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) (Section 56 of NEMBA). A total of 172 plant species are listed on TOPS as they are threatened by unsustainable use, however, only some are affected by international trade, with many being impacted by traditional medicinal plant trade or local horticultural trade. Some of the TOPS species threatened by international trade are not yet included on CITES. It is necessary that risk assessments are conducted for these taxa and that those at risk to the impacts of international trade are nominated for listing on CITES.
The majority of plants threatened by international trade are traded as specialist horticultural collectors’ items. The fashion of plants included in specialist collections changes constantly. To protect many of South Africa’s narrow endemics from being threatened in future by international trade, an early warning system must be developed.
|Target 11: No species of wild flora endangered by international trade|
|11.1. Non-Detriment Findings for all cycad species conducted.||11.1.1. NDFs for all cycads listed as Critically Endangered, conducted.||11.1.1. Scientific Authority.||11.1.1. 2015|
|11.1.2. NDFs for all cycads listed as Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened and Least Concern conducted.||11.1.2. Scientific Authority.||11.1.2. 2016|
|11.2. Biodiversity Management Plan for Critically Endangered and Endangered Cycads implemented.||11.2.1. Biodiversity Management Plan for the Critically Endangered and Endangered cycads published.||11.2.1. SANBI’s Scientific Authority coordinating body and the Department of Environmental Affairs.||11.2.1. 2015|
|11.2.2. Biodiversity Management Plans for the Critically Endangered and Endangered cycads implemented.||11.2.2.Provincial Conservation Authorities and the Department of Environmental Affairs.||11.2.2. Ongoing from 2015|
|11.3. Listing proposals for species threatened by international trade but not yet included on one of the CITES appendices, completed.||11.3.1. Species listed as Threatened or Protected in terms of NEMBA and traded internationally, identified.||11.3.1. SANBI’s Scientific Authority coordinating body.||126.96.36.1995|
|11.3.2. CITES listing proposals prepared for priority species threatened by international trade.||11.3.2. Scientific Authority.||11.3.2. 2016|
|11.3.3. NDFs for species newly included on the CITES appendices conducted.||11.3.3. Scientific Authority.||11.3.3. 2020|
|11.4. Early warning system to flag new species potentially threatened by international trade implemented.||11.4.1. A process for the Internet monitoring of South African plant species developed.||11.4.1. SANBI’s Scientific Authority coordinating body.||11.4.1. Annual|
|11.4.2. Risk assessments for new species identified in trade conducted and appropriate conservation interventions proposed.||11.4.2. SANBI’s Scientific Authority coordinating body.||11.4.2. Annual|