COMMUNICATING INVASIVE SPECIES IN A DIGITAL ERA
Kay Montgomery and Warren Schmidt
Nurseries and Pet Trade Partnership

 

Abstract

Invasive alien species (IAS) are considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to be the second greatest threat to biodiversity on Earth, after climate change. Scientists have battled invasive species for several decades, governments have employed a range of strategies to control invasive species and conservationists have been flagging the issue as environmentally critical for years. Continually reiterating the issue and seriousness of invasive species to the general public is essential. Environmental Programmes is a pioneering leader in the field of communicating the issue of invasive species in South Africa. This presentation surveys the communication strategies used internationally over the past decade, explores the range of communication channels open to scientists and professionals working with invasive species in South Africa and highlights future communications campaigns. We further present communication campaigns currently underway in KwaZulu-Natal. New communications channels include the use of unprecedented social media and digital technology, allowing for greater public participation and awareness. Social and digital media is a rapid form of communication and important information can reach a large target audience within a very short timeframe. KwaZulu-Natal is a climatically variable province, ranging from warm sub-tropical forest to snow-covered high altitude grassland and therefore highly vulnerable to varied alien plant and animal invasions. These include house crows (Corvus splendens), mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus), exotic reptiles and a diverse range of invasive alien plants.
Presentation Topic
COMMUNICATING INVASIVE SPECIES IN A DIGITAL ERA
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Email Warren Schmidt