Four trees in South Africa are likely to become protected under the National Forests Act. Any cutting, disturbing, damaging or removing of these protected trees could land offenders in jail for up to three years.
According to Business Tech, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy is aiming to add four more species to South Africa’s protected trees list.
A government gazette which was published on Monday, November 8, calls to the public for comment on Creecy’s proposal.
“The species are proposed for addition to the existing list of protected tree species after evaluation by an expert panel, on the basis that they are keystone species and vulnerable to particular threats in specific parts of their distribution range”, notes the gazette bearing Creecy’s signature.
The list of protected trees currently stands at 48 species, from the iconic Camel thorn, Acacia erioloba, to the Outeniqua yellowwood, and Podocarpus falcatus.
Here are the four trees that are likely to gain their protection status:
Also known as Red Ivory in English and Rooihout in Afrikaans. The wood from the tree is used to craft furniture. Its leaves and fruits are eaten by birds, bushbucks and people.
It is an African hardwood used to make a variety of products. The Rink Ivory tree grows predominantly in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Northern Botswana and South Africa.
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Also known as African ebony or jackal-berry, this tree can grow up to 25-metres high with a trunk of 5-metres. It produces yellow-green oval fruit, that is enjoyed by nyalas, impalas, warthogs, baboons, and hornbills.
Diospyros mespiliformis is a large dioecious evergreen tree found mostly in the savannas of Africa. Jackals are fond of the fruit, hence the common names. It is a member of the family Ebenaceae, and is related to the true ebony and edible persimmon.
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Also known as a Manketti tree or Mongongo nut. This tree grows up to 20-metres tall, boasting grey, pale golden brown brake colours. It produces a grey-green coloured fruit that is covered in velvety hairs and its hard seeds produce an edible oil. It is found on wooded hills and among sand dunes, and is associated with the Kalahari sand soil-types.
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Also known as Umtiza, this tree can grow up to 12-metres, producing oblong leaves that is 20 to 60mm long. Its fruits can mature into brown and woody kinds of pods.
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“No person may cut, disturb, damage or destroy any protected tree or possess, collect, remove, transport, export, purchase, sell, donate or in any other manner acquire or dispose of any protected tree except under a license granted by the Minister,” notes Creecy in the gazette.
Anybody who is caught disobeying these laws could “be sentenced to a fine or imprisonment for a period of up to three years, or to a fine and such imprisonment.”
Picture: Instagram / bhbrockett