Wetlands most threatened ecosystem

2012-05-22 22:00

Durban - South Africa’s wetlands are the most threatened ecosystem in the country, the National Biodiversity Assessment 2011 (NBA 2011) has found.

KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Gauteng were expected to have no natural vegetation outside of protected areas by 2050.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa released the NBA 2011 in St Lucia on Tuesday.

Based on NBA 2011, the growth of agriculture, mining and urban sprawl were the main causes of a loss of natural vegetation in the three provinces, according to the presentation.

Areas taken over by non-native or alien invasive plants had more than doubled from 10 million hectares to 20 million hectares between the mid-1990s and 2007.

"Failure to protect biodiversity is self-defeating because we are all going to lose in the end, the rural poor being the most affected. This is because many of our communities are directly dependent on biodiversity and ecosystems services," said Molewa.

She said that while many people were aware of the need for roads and electricity, not enough realised "the services we get from our ecological infrastructure like wetlands, mountains, rivers, coastal dunes and vegetation".

"These ecosystem services, like municipal services, play an essential role in supporting social development and economic prosperity."

NBA 2011 is a comprehensive technical assessment of the state of South Africa’s biodiversity and ecosystems, across terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine and marine environments.

  • Squeegee - 2012-05-23 07:18

    Come on people, lets not waste ink on trivial things like the environment. There are far more important issues like keeping the pressie's tottie covered. On a serious note, I don't believe a word she says - this same minister is in favor of Fracking in the Karoo.

  • Warren Jones - 2012-05-23 07:18

    Restricting Gauteng nurseries from selling exotic plants may be a step in the right direction to saving our biosphere. The highveld has the worlds largest diversity of grasses. surely gardeners would come to the party to keep this diversity?

  • Phae - 2012-05-23 07:23

    We can see by the number of comments how much people care. We are idiotic to continue living as if we hold supreme rights to life over anything else. Its time planetary population control was enforced as we continue to breed like a virus which will eventually kill its host. Intelligent species? Yeah sure.

      Squeegee - 2012-05-23 07:31

      @phae. Interesting idea. How would you go about dealing with the 'human virus'? Please inform us how 'planetary population control' should be applied? Who, according to you gets to live and breed and who not?

      Morné - 2012-05-23 08:45

      Phae makes a good point. All our efforts in conservation will mean nothing if we do not arrest the rampant human population growth, especially as individual environmental footprints are increasing. If you apply cold logic to the equation that is the only conclusion. The biggest challenges are finding the optimal mechanism of population control implementation and the political will to apply it.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-23 13:59

    I should just copy and paste this, another ANC failure

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