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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/5965

Title: An assessment of the effectiveness of a large, national-scale invasive alien plant control strategy in South Africa
Authors: Van Wilgen, BW
Forsyth, GG
Le Maitre, DC
Wannenburgh, A
Kotzé, JDF
Van den Berg, E
Henderson, L
Keywords: Adaptive management
Biological control
Biological invasions
Ecosystem services
Invasive alien species
Working for Water
Alien plant control
Issue Date: Apr-2012
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Van Wilgen, BW, Forsyth, GG, Le Maitre, DC, Wannenburgh, A, Kotzé, JDF, Van den Berg, E and Henderson, L. 2012. An assessment of the effectiveness of a large, national-scale invasive alien plant control strategy in South Africa. Biological Conservation, vol. 148(1), pp 28-38
Series/Report no.: Workflow;9198
Abstract: This paper presents an assessment of a large, national-scale alien plant control program that has operated in South Africa for 15 years. We reviewed data from three national-level estimates of the extent of invasion, records of the costs and spatial extent of invasive species control operations, assessments of the effectiveness of biological control, and smaller-scale studies. The 19 most important invasive taxa, mainly trees, in terrestrial biomes were identified. The effectiveness of control efforts on the extent of invasion of these taxa was assessed. Control costs over 15 years amounted to 3.2 billion rands (US$457 million), more than half of which was spent on 10 taxa, the most prominent being in the genera Acacia, Prosopis, Pinus and Eucalyptus. Despite substantial spending, control operations were in many cases applied to a relatively small portion of the estimated invaded area, and invasions appear to have increased, and remain a serious threat, in many biomes. Our findings suggest that South Africa’s national-scale strategy to clear invasive alien plants should be substantially modified if impacts are to be effectively mitigated. Rather than attempting to control all species, and to operate in all areas, a more focused approach is called for. This would include prioritising both the species and the areas, and setting goals and monitoring the degree to which they are achieved, within a framework of adaptive management. A greater portion of funding should also be directed towards biological control, where successes have been most notable.
Description: Copyright: 2012 Elsevier. This is the pre-print version of the work. The definitive version is published in Biological Conservation, vol. 148(1), pp 28-38
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320712000808
ISSN: 0006-3207
Appears in Collections:Ecosystems processes & dynamics
General science, engineering & technology

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