Parthenium management in the province of KZN

Parthenium management in the province of KZN
Michael Braack
KZN Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs

The management of Parthenium hysterophorus (parthenium) in the province of KZN has to date been uncoordinated and haphazard. Numerous state and private organisations have invested funds into aspects of parthenium management without any organisation specifically addressing the invasion problem at a provincial level.   The KZN Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs has identified the need to facilitate and fund the management of parthenium in KZN. The KZN Parthenium Management Programme has been developed with a dedicated budget for the management of the species. An amount of R58 million has been allocated for the next five years with additional budget available where necessary. The budget shall primarily be spent on response teams that will either manage parthenium populations or clear all individual plants, depending on the objective per district municipality. The Parthenium Management Programme aims to minimise the impacts of parthenium whilst reducing the density levels and managing new populations according to prioritised district municipalities within the province. An integrated implementation plan has been developed which includes research budgets as well as awareness budgets. These budgets are usually not species based and this is a clear sign of the Department’s determination to manage the species. The programme plan has been based on Australian and Indian best practices. The programme shall be evaluated on an annual basis by a steering committee comprising of South African leading experts on invasive species and their management.