THE DURBAN INVASIVES WEBSITE: EMERGING INVASIVE ALIEN PLANT CONTROL IN THE DIGITAL ERA
Reshnee Lalla, Errol Douwes and Stephanie Reynolds
South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Invasive Species Programme: Early Detection and Rapid Response, 2eThekwini Municipality, Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department

 

Abstract
Invasive alien plants (IAPs) pose a serious threat to South Africa’s rich biodiversity, but often management of IAPs only occurs once a species is already widespread.In response to this, many international IAP management programmes have focussed on improving their detection systems, so that IAP populations can be controlled, or even eradicated. The resulting management cost savings, over the long-term, are often very significant.Early detection of new invasions, in particular, relies on observations by people in the field leading directly and quickly to appropriate management interventions. The need for easy and fast collation of observation data, adds significantly to the ongoing Early Detection and Rapid Response work, undertaken by various partner organisations within the eThekwini Municipal Area. As such, we undertook to develop a web-based data capture system that could harness inputs from a variety of partner organisations, and also the general public. The system allows registered ‘spotters’ to capture IAP localities and related data, and capitalises on the digital era’s widespread use of internet technology. Users of GPS enabled smart phones can also capture information and photographs in-field, and upload to the website in real-time. The system capitalises on the principle of ‘success through the division of labour’, by providing a central platform which directs the collaborative efforts of several partner organisations. Our presentation will serve as an introduction to the Durban Invasives Website. The utility of the system for data capture and analysis will be highlighted, and we will briefly outline the benefits to infield management through improved communication. Screenshots from the website will be discussed, and a brief demonstration will highlight the ease with which data can be captured. Marketing of the site, and public engagement will also be discussed. To date, marketing is via partner websites, local newspaper articles, the municipal Facebook page, as well as through presentations at the local municipal biodiversity forum and provincial Invasive Alien Species forum.
Presentation Topic
THE DURBAN INVASIVES WEBSITE: EMERGING INVASIVE ALIEN PLANT CONTROL IN THE DIGITAL ERA
Contact Ms Lalla:
Email Reshnee Lalla