Biocontrol of weeds in South Africa: where are we going from here?
Ian D Paterson (Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University), Martin P Hill (Plant Protection Research Institute), and Costas Zachariades (University of KwaZulu Natal)
South African weed biological control is currently thriving primarily due to sustainable funding received from Environment
Programmes in the Department of Environmental Affairs.
In order to take full advantage of this strong position more research should be focused on large scale evaluations of the environmental, economic and social impact of biological control.
Additional focus should be given towards the implementation of the excellent pre- release work that has been conducted so that the maximum benefits of biological control can be realised.
There is an opportunity to create a significant number of jobs in mass-rearing and post release monitoring programmes which could increase the scale of post release monitoring and improve implementation efforts.
Future programmes should aim to tackle the worst of South African Invasive Alien Plant problems because this is where biological control will provide the most benefit.
The Environment Programmes funding provides an opportunity for biological control in South Africa to improve in areas where there have been shortfalls and to tackle difficult projects that may not have been feasible in the past.