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Invasive Species South Africa - Protecting Biodiversity from Invasion - Items filtered by date: April 2016

Bird of paradise flower is a deciduous shrub that grows up to 5m tall depending on rainfall. Branchlets and inflorescence covered with velvety hairs and densely covered with blackish or brownish glands. It flowers in summer. 

Calling all green journalists and environmental bloggers ...

The South African Science Journalists' Association (SASJA) is invitating journalists and environmental bloggers to apply for a place on a FREE journalism workshop to be held alongside the 43rd Annual Research Symposium on the Management of Biological Invasions (18 – 20 May 2016) at Goudini Spa, near Worcester, Western Cape.

Deadline for registration: Wednesday 11 May 2016

The workshop, entitled "Reporting on biodiversity and invasive species" will run on Wednesday 18 May, 2016 from 09h30. Hosted by SASJA, the workshop is funded by the Internews/Global Environmental Network Biodiversity Grant media programme.

Seasoned journalists, John Yeld and Mandi Smallhorne will offer story ideas and tips on news sources. In addition, journalists attending the workshop will have an opportunity to network with invasive species experts attending the 43rd Annual Research Symposium on the Management of Biological Invasions.

Why attend?

Presented by John Yeld and Mandi Smallhorne, the theme of the workshop is “Protecting Biodiversity on Private Property”.

The workshop will focus on the issues that go hand in hand with the presence of invasive plants and animals in towns, cities and on private land such as farms.

You will learn from senior environmental journalists and scientific experts how to better report on the presence and management of invasive species such as European wasps, Argentine ants, feral pigs, grey squirrels, green crabs and the house crow. You will also discover the disastrous social, economic and political implications - for the country - of infestations such as famine weed, pompom weed and water hyacinth.  

Scientific experts will discuss the latest rules and regulations that landowners and municipalities need to follow to manage invasive plants, and how such species impacts South Africa’s natural landscapes and water and marine resources.

This is also a valuable opportunity to engage with scientific experts before the publication of the National Status Report on Biological Invasions in South Africa in 2017.

Who can attend?

Journalists from community, daily and weekly newspapers, radio and television journalists or presenters, as well as bloggers with an interest in the environment, conservation, agriculture or planning.

What does it cost?

The workshop is free but space is limited. Attendees can apply for support towards their accommodation and travelling needs. 

Where is the Goudini Spa?

The ATKV Goudini Spa is located just off the N1 close to Rawsonville and Worcester in the Western Cape (GPS: 33º40’06.98″ S / 19º15’48.06″ E)

More information and contact details

See http://academic.sun.ac.za/cib/workshops/2016MAY/index.asp for more information.

For information about the workshop, contact Wiida Fourie at or 021 808 2684

For information about financial assistance, contact Thea Aboud at

For more information about SASJA, visit http://sasja.org/ or join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SASJA.Science

Deadline for registration: Wednesday 11 May 2016

To apply for a place at the workshop, register here


The contribution of biocontrol implementation to managing weeds in the Western Cape
Candice L. LYONS1, Debbie Sharp2, Reley F. Bell2; Fiona Impson3
1Plant Protection Research, Agricultural Research Council, Private Bag X5017, Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa
2Department of Environmental Affairs, Cape Town, South Africa
3Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa

Since the year 2000, ‘Biocontrol Implementation Officers’ have been appointed in Provinces across South Africa, through the Working for Water Programme (DEA: NRMP), in order to assist with the distribution and monitoring of biological control agents against weed species. In 2011 this was expanded through the appointment of two teams in the Western Cape, to increase capacity and further facilitate what was already being achieved. These specialist biocontrol teams comprise seven or eight trained implementers, headed up by a contractor. Their main purpose is the collection and redistribution of agents, both within and outside the Province, thereby greatly enhancing what was achievable by a single provincial implementation officer together with the biocontrol researchers. In addition, the teams spend a portion of their time monitoring specific biocontrol programmes. Here, we present data from the two Working for Water teams within the Western Cape, in an effort to showcase the work that has, and is being done, in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council and the University of Cape Town. Thus far, biocontrol implementation in the province has focused largely on Hakea and Acacia species with more recent inclusion of several species of water weeds. 

What are the factors that influence successful biological control of Cereus jamacaru De Candolle (Cactaceae) in South Africa?
Guy F. SUTTON, Iain D. Paterson
Biological Control Research Group, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa

The success of biological control agents can be highly variable among target weed populations. The mechanisms that determine such variability are poorly understood, and an understanding of these factors would allow biological control practitioners to improve existing management programs. Field observations of an environment-transforming weed, Cereus jamacaru (Queen of the night cactus), indicate that biological control efforts employing the mealybug Hypogeococcus pungens (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) may be more effective against certain weed populations than others, suggesting that distinct genetic types may be present in South Africa. This study will investigate several factors which may explain the variable nature of the control of C. jamacaru. The factors investigated will include the suitability of the control agent H. pungens, incompatibility between H. pungens and C. jamacaru populations and the impact of top-down regulation on H. pungens by predators and parasitoids. The methods employed will include field surveys of C. jamacaru populations and their interaction with H. pungens, climatic matching, molecular and morphological taxonomic evaluation of the weed populations, herbivore performance bioassays on different weed populations and combined field and laboratory-based assessments of the impact of predation and parasitism on H. pungens. This research will indicate whether H. pungens is a suitable biological control agent of all forms of C. jamacaru and determine factors that must be taken into account when implementing biological control using this agent. 

Plant attributes contribute to the invasive Tecoma stans L. (Bignoniaceae) in South Africa
Lulama G. Madire
Plant Protection Research, Agricultural Research Council, Private Bag X134, Queenswood, Pretoria, 0121

Tecoma stans L. ex Kunth (Bignoniaceae) was introduced into the country as an ornamental plant and was used as a garden plant because of its yellow bell-shaped flowers and showy leaves. The absence of its natural enemies caused the plant to escape its original cause and end up invading roadsides, open and disturbed land, riparian zones and rocky sides. Tecoma stans produces thousands of papery winged seeds that are easily dispersed by wind and flood water. Seeds have contributed to the invasive behaviour of this plant as they are highly viable according to the germination trials that were conducted in the shade house under normal conditions and also according to field observations. The deep tap root also contributes to the invasive behaviour of this plant. When the plant is chopped or burned, it resprouts into multi-stems in the field. Several environmental factors also contribute to the invasiveness of this plant. This plant continues to extend its range because of its aggressive behaviour. The suitable biological control agents have been recently introduced in the field to control this plant, but it is still too early to determine their establishment and impact.

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