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Open for comment: Draft Revised List of Ecosystems that are Threatened and in need of Protection

5 November 2021

On 5 November 2021 Barbara Creecy, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment published the Draft Revised List of Ecosystems that are threatened and in need of protection in GN 1476 in GG 45426.

Members of the public are invited to submit written representations or objections on the draft list before 5 December 2021.

The Minister is empowered by section 52 of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEM:BA) to publish a list of ecosystems that are threatened or in need of protection. The  Minister may list ecosystems according to the following categories:

  • critically endangered ecosystems, being ecosystems that have undergone severe degradation of ecological structure, function or composition as a result of human intervention and are subject to an extremely high risk of irreversible transformation;
  • endangered ecosystems, being ecosystems that have undergone degradation of ecological structure, function or composition as a result of human intervention, although they are not critically endangered ecosystems;
  • vulnerable ecosystems, being ecosystems that have a high risk of undergoing significant degradation of ecological structure, function or composition as a result of human intervention, although they are not critically endangered ecosystems or endangered ecosystems; and
  • protected ecosystems, being ecosystems that are of high conservation value or of high national or provincial importance, although they are not listed in the categories above.

NEM:BA also empowers the Minister to identify processes and activities that threaten a listed ecosystem. A National List of Ecosystems that are Threated and in Need of Protection was last published in 2011 (GN 1002 of 9 December 2011, GG 34809).

An environmental authorisation in terms of section 24 of NEMA is required to undertake processes declared as “threatening” in listed ecosystems. No processes have yet been declared.