What does it take for municipalities to become compliant with the regulations on biological invasions? Lessons from the city of Cape Town

What does it take for municipalities to become compliant with the regulations on biological invasions? Lessons from the city of Cape Town
Mirijam Gaertner1,2, Ulrike M. Irlich1,2, Luke Potgieter2 and Louise Stafford1
1Green Jobs Unit (GJU), Environmental Resource Management Department (ERMD), City of Cape Town, Westlake Conservation Office, Ou Kaapse Weg, Cape Town
2Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), Department of Botany & Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa

This paper will examine the case of Cape Town to (1) underline the requirements for municipalities to become NEMBA compliant (2) emphasize the challenges and (3) to provide guidelines for developing a strategy for managing urban invasions. Achieving NEMBA compliance in an urban environment requires a number of challenges to be overcome. Firstly invasive non-native species are often more prevalent in urban areas than in rural areas. Attempts to manage invasive species in urban areas are controversial due to a diversity of stakeholder views, and challenging because of budgetary constraints, institutional arrangements and differing mandates.

To become NEMBA compliant a municipality will have to go through different phases:

  1. Planning phase: It is advisable that municipalities develop an Invasive Species Management Strategy and pass it through the appropriate municipal processes to achieve departmental buy-in and successfully delegate responsibilities. The second step is to draw up an Invasive Species Monitoring, Control and Eradication Plan. This plan needs to be incorporated into the Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
  2. Implementation phase: To tackle the diverse challenges that managers in urban environments are faced with management frameworks have to be in place. These should include political, social and ecological aspects.
  3. Monitoring and reporting phase: Monitoring is required to determine the efficacy of control interventions. Information gathered here is vital for updating the municipal management plan and to incorporate into the status report for protected areas.