The Durban Invasives Website: tracking and control of selected invasive alien plants, in an urban context

The Durban Invasives Website: tracking and control of selected invasive alien plants, in an urban context
Errol DOUWES1,2, Reshnee Lalla3, Carla Petersen1, Bheka Nxele1
1Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department, eThekwini Municipality, 166 K.E Masinga Road, Durban, 4001
2School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
3Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, 7 Linden Road, Berea, Durban, 4007

Early detection and control of invasive alien plant (IAP) infestations, is a strategic approach that can ensure optimal results over the long term, even with relatively small budgets. In 2013, several organisations operating within the broader Durban area, including the South African National Biodiversity Institute, the Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust, Kloof Conservancy, and eThekwini Municipality initiated a website-based Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) Project. This Durban Invasives website (www.durbaninvasives.org.za) project has allowed for the reporting of selected IAP species, as are featured on the website’s target list. The partner organisations all use data from the website to guide simultaneous targeted IAP control efforts, as well as for research and planning purposes. The website, which allows for status updates of target species, is considered a successful platform for sharing field observation data, in real-time.   Website visitors, which can include members of the public, must register as ‘spotters’ should they wish to report a sighting. To date, the five most commonly reported species include: Parthenium hysterophorus, Campuloclinium macrocephalum, Triplaris americana, Furcraea foetida and Lilium formosanum. The website has ensured improved rates of detection, removal and in some instances, extirpation/local eradication of IAPs. Current indications are that the website has also improved coordination activities between the various partner organisations, the benefits of which extend well beyond the control of the listed target species.