WESSA Ecosystem Services
WESSA Ecosystem Services operate in the critical area of life-supporting ecosystems. A key component of this work is integrated ecosystem rehabilitation which aims to secure – and where possible to restore – valuable ecosystem services.
Ecosystem services are sadly taken for granted by many, and the extent of environmental degradation is only realised or addressed once these services have reached critical and often irreversible supply levels.
Ecosystem services are best provided by healthy ecosystems and include:
- Provisioning services – food, fuel and water
- Regulating services - climate, floods, disease, wastes, and water quality
- Cultural services - recreation, aesthetic enjoyment and tourism
- Supporting services - soil formation, photosynthesis, and nutrient cycling
Negative impacts on ecosystem services are common and varied, but whatever the specific ecological rehabilitation requirements, invasive alien plant management is always vital. Stop the Spread began as a WESSA campaign to raise awareness of the socio-economic and environmental impacts caused by invasive alien species. Operating within WESSA EcoSystem Services, Stop the Spread has now grown to include the delivery of courses and skills training on invasive alien plant identification and control methods, for teams working on ecosystem rehabilitation and restoration projects across the country.
At all levels of training participants spend at least one full day in the field, demonstrating their knowledge of plant species and performing actual suitable control methods on targeted invasive alien species. The training is offered at numerous skill levels and caters for labourers, field managers and even project managers. The training is also suitable for members of the public who want to learn more about identifying invasive and indigenous species, and about effective control methods including the correct use of herbicides.
This non-accredited training has been developed and tested to meet the specific skills needs of workers in the field. New course materials and courses are constantly being developed and are often tailored to the specific needs of clients and adapted to different regions and ecosystems. Training methodologies take cognisance of international best practices and are aligned with unit standards in the training matrix of the Department of Water Affairs' Working for Water (WfW) programme.
The WESSA Stop the Spread courses and skills training recently broadened their reach to participate in CSI corporate partnerships for the benefit of both the environment and previously disadvantaged communities.
Project contact details
Jean Rodel, Business Unit Leader: WESSA Ecosystem Services
Tel 031 201 3126
Cell 078 453 4848