Invasive species research funding futures—bright or bleak?

Invasive species research funding futures—bright or bleak?
Philip IVEY1, David M. Richardson2, Jane Turpie3, Brian van Wilgen2
1Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre
2Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University
3Environmental-Economics Policy Research Unit, School of Economics, University of Cape Town
4Anchor Environmental Consulting, South Africa

In the mid to late 1980s, at the height of the Apartheid government’s war against the perceived communist threat posed by Angola and Namibian independence movements, it was estimated that South Africa spent more in a day on the war than it allocated annually to environmental research.  This may be an extreme case of National Fiscal neglect but it illustrates that environmental concerns are frequently the last item on the finance minister’s list.

We outline a plan to undertake a global review of funding allocated for research on invasive species in order to assess and interrogate the source and sustainability of funds.  This information may be difficult to access, particularly for historical expenditure.  Information may be available in government and project reports and annual reports of organisations responsible for implementing projects. 

For each country an assessment will be made of the following:

•    How large is the National Budget?

•    What is the budget allocation to the environment relative to other budget demands?

•    How much of the environmental budget is allocated to protecting the environment from the threat of invasive species?

•    Is there a relationship between budget allocation and number of rare and endangered species, size of land surface protected in formal conservation areas and number of invasive species present in the country threatening biodiversity, ecosystems and human livelihoods?

•    Are there alternative funding sources for work in the environment and invasive species in particular?