Compulsory control of alien plants by landowners will be one of the major provisions of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act of South Africa. "The act will soon be passed,' says Mary Metcalfe official of the Gauteng Agriculture and Environment. Estimates of the us government indicate that 1.7 per cent of Africa's gross domestic product was spent on these alien plants. They have also destroyed indigenous plants and caused extensive soil erosion.
At least 198 alien plants had been listed as invasive. These plants have been divided into three categories. Plants belonging to the first category will be removed and destroyed immediately. This category would include plants such as bugweed, Mauritius thorn and lantana. The plants covered under the second category can be grown, provided steps are taken to prevent their spread. Plants such as bluegum, black wattle and pine trees would be included in the second category. The third category would comprise plants such as the giant reed, the showberry bushes, the syringa, jacaranda and guava. There will be a complete ban on growing of plants belonging to the third category. The department of water affairs and forestry said it would take all necessary steps to ensure everyone's cooperation to control the spread of such plants. If all the alien plants in South Africa were grouped together in a thicket, they would cover an area the same size as Gauteng, government officials said.