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Biodiversity Management Plans – Aloe Ferox and two Honey Bush Species


The Biodiversity Management Plans (BMP-S) for Aloe Ferox and the Honeybush Species Cyclopia subtenata and Cyclopia intermedia have been published for implementation.

The BMP for Aloe ferox, an aloe, indigenous to SA, was developed to ensure the long-term survival of the species in its natural habitat, whilst ensuring that the sustainable use of the species by stakeholders are respected. The species is included in Appendix II of CITES  to ensure that international trade in the plants does not threaten its survival in the wild.

Aloe ferox have a restricted distribution in South Africa, extending from the Western Cape Province, intermittently throughout the Eastern Cape, and up into south-eastern Free State. The species also occurs in southern Lesotho. The succulent leaves form Aloe ferox, harvested from wild plants, are used to produce bitters and gels for commercial use in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The A. ferox industry provides significant socio-economic benefits to many South Africans, from local communities who derive an income from harvesting of the plants, to small businesses who employ people to manufacture products for both the local and international markets.

Honeybush species, Cyclopia subternata and Cyclopia intermedia are endemic to the Western and Eastern Cape provinces with the distribution extending from the Cedarberg north of Citrusdal, southwards to the Cape Peninsula and eastwards to Port Elizabeth. Honeybush species have been used commercially since the 19th century for the production of caffeine-free honeybush tea, used by many to provide a range of health benefits. Numbers are declining in the wild as a result of amongst other challenges, illegal harvesting within communal lands and nature reserves, as well as on private farms where land owners are absent; the removal of excessively large quantities of plant material too frequently, resulting in overharvested, unhealthy populations; expansion of human settlement and agricultural lands into areas where the species occurs; and invasive alien encroachment by species such as black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) and pine (Pinus sp.) that shade out plants.

The conservation status of both the  Honeybush species are Least Concern in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List criteria, despite the fact that it is commonly used in the commercial tea industry.

This BMP for Aloe ferox and Honeybush aims to ensure that wild harvesting is carried out in an adaptive, practical, participatory, and transparent manner that maintains the long-term survival of the species in the wild. It also aims to ensure that the wild collection does not adversely affect the structure and functioning of the surrounding environment and ensures the establishment and implementation of monitoring systems that will provide the scientific evidence required to inform responsive management practices.

The Plan’s other aims are to:

  • ensure that wild collection does not adversely affect the environment, including ecosystem function and is based upon adaptive, practical, participatory and transparent management practices;
  • ensure that collection and management activities are carried out under legitimate tenure arrangements and comply with relevant laws, regulations, and agreements;
  • ensure that the customary rights of local and indigenous communities‘ to access their land are recognised and respected and integrated into the permitting process/decision making process;
  • ensure that through fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from the biotrade and bioprospecting, the conservation and sustainable use of the species is promoted, and the livelihoods of communities are enhanced;
  • promote management across its natural range.

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