MANAGEMENT AND MISMANAGEMENT: FAMINE WEED, PARTHENIUM HYSTEROPHORUS, IN NORTHERN KWAZULU-NATAL AT THE END OF THE 2012-2013 SUMMER GROWING SEASON
Ian Macdonald, Jan Lee, Mike Butler and Peter Saville
Independent consultants

 

Abstract
We present the overall results of rapid road-transect surveys of famine weed,Parthenium hysterophorus, in and around nine of the provincial protected areas administered by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and in the broader area outside protected areas in that portion of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) north of Richards Bay and east of Vryheid. We present the hypotheses we have formulated to explain the patterns of distribution of this species observed during these surveys and then suggest the appropriate courses of action to limit famine weed’s future invasions of, and spread within, these protected areas. The most important recommendations that arise from our surveys are (1) an effective biological control programme is absolutely essential if this species is to be controlled sustainably in northern KZN and helping the appropriate agencies achieve this should be Ezemvelo’s top priority for famine weed, (2) in the short term, operations should be carried out within the protected areas to limit the further spread of famine weed in these areas and to prevent already-established infestations from flowering every year, (3) a further suite of management actions should be aimed at limiting the introduction of Famine Weed seeds into these protected areas, (4) all existing and planned management programmes inside these protected areas need to be reviewed urgently so as to minimise their future roles in spreading famine weed into and within these areas, (5) an extensive famine weed education campaign, aimed initially at Ezemvelo staff and the organisation’s contractors, needs to be undertaken throughout KZN. We conclude that as long as there is a sound strategic plan, an adequate budget and, most importantly, high levels of commitment from the staff involved, the famine weed challenge to Ezemvelo-KZN Wildlife’s protected areas can be contained until an effective biological control programme is instituted in South Africa.

 

Presentation Topic

MANAGEMENT AND MISMANAGEMENT: FAMINE WEED, PARTHENIUM HYSTEROPHORUS, IN NORTHERN KWAZULU-NATAL AT THE END OF THE 2012-2013 SUMMER GROWING SEASON

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