Forestry Regulation & Oversight


Sustainable Forestry



Protected Trees



In terms of the National Forests Act of 1998 certain tree species (types of trees) can be identified and declared as protected. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry followed an objective, scientific and participative process to arrive at the new list of protected tree species, enacted in 2004. All trees occurring in natural forests are also protected in terms of the Act. Protective actions take place within the framework of the Act as well as national policy and guidelines. Trees are protected for a variety of reasons, and some species require strict protection while others require control over harvesting and utilization.

The Camelthorn tree, Northern Cape
Source: DWAF

In terms of the National Forests Act of 1998 forest trees or protected tree species may not be cut, disturbed, damaged, destroyed and their products may not be possessed, collected, removed, transported, exported, donated, purchased or sold – except under license granted by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (or a delegated authority).

Applications for such activities should be made to the responsible official in each province. Each application is evaluated on merit (including site visits) before a decision is taken whether or not to issue a license (with or without conditions). Such decisions must be in line with national policy and guidelines.

Listing and Proclamation

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry received a long list of proposed tree species for protection from stakeholders. A panel of experts then assisted the Department in evaluating these proposals, using a set of criteria developed at public workshops. The final list was published by notice in the Government Gazette and newspapers, after a public review

The criteria used to select tree species for inclusion in the protected tree list are:

Red List Status (rare or threatened species);
Keystone Species Value (whether species play a dominant role in an ecosystem’s functioning);
Sustainability of Use (whether a species is threatened by heavy use of its products such as timber, bark etc);
Cultural or Spiritual Importance (outstanding landscape value or spiritual meaning attached to certain tree species); and
Other Legislation (whether a species is already adequately protected by other legislation).


Related References
National List of protected trees
Application for a licence regarding Protected Trees
Application for a licence regarding Protected Trees
Protected Trees Poster, 2012
Revision of the National List of Protected Trees, 2002
Criteria & Framework for application of Legislation on Protection of Indigenous Tree Species, 2000
Press Release - Department steps in to protect trees, Sept 2004
Research on Acacia erioloba (Camelthorn), 2003
Research on Boscia albitrunca (Shepherd’s Tree), 2003
Research on Combretum imberbe (Combretaceae), 2003
DAFF Contact Details

Assistant Director
Izak van der Merwe
Tel: (012) 309 5771

Deputy Director: Forest Regulation
Ms. Shumani Dzivhani
Tel: (012) 309 5765