Cities as hotspots for invasions: The case of the eThekwini municipality

Cities as hotspots for invasions: The case of the eThekwini municipality
Ashlyn L. PADAYACHEE1, 2, Şerban Procheş1, Mathieu Rouget3, John R. Wilson2, 4
1School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental, Discipline of Geography, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville Campus, Durban 4000, South Africa
2Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre
3School of Agriculture, Earth and Environmental, Centre for Invasion Biology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X1, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
4Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University

This study focuses on four broad themes regarding biological invasions in urban environments: 

1) policy; 2) pathways and vectors; 3) prioritisation tools for management and 4) preparedness and response – all in the context of the eThekwini (Durban) Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. A review of the invasive species strategy implemented in the eThekwini municipality will be done and the differences in plans between other major cities around the world will be compared to plans implemented in eThekwini, highlighting advantages and disadvantages. This comparison will be used to determine if the successfully implemented plans in other major cities can be incorporated, in full or in part, into the IAS control and management plans for the eThekwini municipality. I will review invasion pathways and vectors in urban environments, highlighting the management practices of invasion pathways in the eThekwini municipality. The issue of management prioritisation of invasive species will be addressed by investigating how invasion debt and predictive models can aid decision makers in setting management priorities. Lastly, as a species-focus example, an assessment of the preparedness of the eThekwini municipality in the event of an invasion of Little Fire Ants (Wasmannia auropunctata) will be conducted and possible contingency plans will be suggested.