Developing a national strategy for cactus management in South Africa

Developing a national strategy for cactus management in South Africa
Haylee Kaplan1 and the National Cactus Working Group
1Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Private Bag X7, Claremont, 7735.

Cactus  species  are  among South  Africa’s  worst  invaders, posing  both  economic and  ecological threats to  our  country. To  effectively deal  with  both  existing and  future  cactus invasions, the National Cactus Working Group was established in 2012, comprising representatives of all major stakeholders directly involved in cactus management and policy implementation. The purpose of the Cactus Working Group is to co-ordinate cactus management at a national level with the specific objective of drawing up a strategic framework in which this can be accomplished. The goals of the national cactus management strategy are to: 1) prevent new invasions through risk assessment, surveillance and rapid response; 2) manage existing cactus invasions effectively through integrated management of widespread species using best practice methods and eradication of current and potential invaders where possible; and 3) improve knowledge and capacity to manage cactus invasions through research and assessments, education and awareness campaigns, information sharing and engagement with stakeholders. Roles and responsibilities are defined for each strategic action and the Cactus Working Group will continue to meet biannually to ensure effective implementation and evaluation of the strategy. The working group approach has proven to be highly useful in this instance, and might be a useful model for managing other groups of invasive species.