THE PRIORITIZATION OF MANAGED OPEN SPACES IN ETHEKWINI MUNICIPALITY FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES
Bheka Nxele and Errol Douwes
eThekwini Municipality, Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department

 

Abstract
Effective control of Invasive alien plant species (IAPs) in eThekwini Municipality (EM) has proven to be a costly exercise. Achieving optimal efficiencies and outcomes, with limited funding, requires a strategic approach. The EM’s Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department has, over several years, developed and refined a prioritisation methodology, to aid in this regard. This methodology allowed for the prioritisation of over 100 managed open spaces (MOS), all of which receive IAP control, in order to determine management budgets for each site. The MOS were sub-divided into 240 “weeding blocks” wherein cumulative ground-cover of dominant IAPs were recorded. Field surveys revealed that, while the majority (61%) of weeding blocks had either very low, low, or medium density IAP infestations, the 39% of bocks with high, very high or extreme infestations are a cause for concern. Notably, only 79 out of 130 IAPs recorded are categorised as invasive under South African legislation. Other criteria required for the prioritisation study include (i) biodiversity and ecosystem services, (ii) current and future impacts of IAPs, (iii) feasibility of IAP control, and (iv) socio-economic value. Scores for each indicator were assigned a value and a weighting. The summed weighted scores for all criteria, across all sites, allowed for a final prioritised ranking of sites.The field surveys provide a useful baseline for future studies, and the prioritised list forms the basis of site resource allocations. Importantly, the data collected are also available to support budget proposals. This is critical if such proposals are to be seriously considered by officials who hold the purse strings.

 

Presentation Topic
THE PRIORITIZATION OF MANAGED OPEN SPACES IN ETHEKWINI MUNICIPALITY FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES
Contact Mr Nxele:
Email Bheka Nxele