Stop the Spread
The “Stop the Spread” campaign has been designed specifically as a vehicle to raise awareness of the socio-economic and environmental impacts caused by invasive alien species (IAS).
Why we should be so concerned
Invasive alien species (IAS) are plants and other species that have been introduced, either accidentally or intentionally, outside of their natural environment or country of origin. They are the single biggest threat to South Africa's biological diversity, to water security and the productive use of land as they have the ability to spread, without the direct assistance of people, into natural or semi-natural habitats causing significant or even devastating changes in terms of composition, structure, and ecosystem processes including water purification, soil generation, waste decomposition and nutrient cycling which are critical to human survival. IAS out-compete, transform and overtake indigenous species by challenging them for space, light, food, water, and nesting places.
They intensify flooding and fires, increase soil erosion, and cause the following: destruction of rivers, siltation of dams and estuaries and poor water quality. IAPs can also cause a mass extinction of indigenous plants and animals. IAPs waste our water resources, diverting water from more productive uses, affecting agriculture, fisheries, transport, recreation and water supply.
It is estimated that invasive alien plants cover about 20 million hectares of the country and the problem is escalating with new invasions still occurring. It has been conservatively estimated that invasive control would cost South Africa R34 billion over the next 25years. (ARC report 2010 commissioned by Water affairs)
The spread of invasive alien plants impact largely on the poor as the spin offs from these biological invasions result in increased costs for basic supplies like water and food. Climate change will add to these impacts and together climate change and invasive alien species will form a lethal cocktail altering natural systems and further impacting on our life support systems.
Stop-The-Spread plans to:
- raise awareness of the nature and extent of the threat through promotion in classic media and through interactive promotional activities;
- increase the participation of all stakeholders and to build relationships between role players;
- train adult groups in awareness, understanding and practical skills;
- train learners in a school or tertiary environment;
- encourage the public and stakeholders to become actively involved in the identification and control of the spread of invasive alien species.
The link between man and the impact of invasives on the environment needs to be demonstrated in such a way that the matter becomes a concrete concept in the mind of the public. Therefore, the campaign aims to engage with the public and to get individuals and organizations asking, “ What can I do?”
WESSA has a handbook called INVASIVE ALIEN PLANTS in KwaZulu –Natal: Management and Control.
This field guide aims to boost public awareness of the problem and to provide a ready reference to enable the concerned public to identify and control 40 of the more common invasive alien plants in KZN. It is a very user- friendly little book with all the information one could wish for to help one win the battle against invasive alien plants and to “ STOP THE SPREAD!” The publication may be ordered from the WESSA KZN Regional office for R50 excluding postage. Contact us on 031 201 3126.
Interesting articles and up to date information on invasive plants can be found at www.agis.agric.za/wip
The Southern African Plant Invader Atlas (SAPIA) and its newsletter is co-ordinated and edited by Lesley Henderson ARC-PPRI, Weeds Division. If you would like to receive the newsletter email Lesley at L.firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about invasive alien plants visit: http://www.invasives.org.za/
For all invasive alien species legislated by law, look at the present invasive species list and “proposed” invasives lists under http://www.sanbi.org/information/infobases/invasive-alien-plant-alert
We can all do our little bit and …
STOP THE SPREAD
Tel 031 266 2603
Cell 078 453 4848