The contribution of biocontrol implementation to managing weeds in the Western Cape

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.