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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Environmental Programmes

In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. find out more

Grasses as invasive plants in South Africa revisited: patterns, pathways and management

Grasses as invasive plants in South Africa revisited: patterns, pathways and management
Vernon VISSER1,2,3,4, Kim Canavan5, Susan Canavan3,4, Lyn Fish6, Philip Ivey4Sabrina Kumschick3, David C. Le Maitre7, Ingrid Nänni4, Tim O'Connor8, Sebataolo Rahlao4, David M. Richardson3, John R. Wilson3,4
1SEEC - Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
2African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town
3Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University
4South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre
5Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown
6National Herbarium, Pretoria, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria
7Centre for Invasion Biology, CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment, Stellenbosch
8SAEON, PO Box 2600, Pretoria 0001, South Africa

In many countries around the world the most damaging invasive plant species are grasses.  However, the group has received little attention in South Africa. Here we expand upon Sue Milton’s 2004 review of grasses as invasive alien plants in South Africa. Specifically we provide the first detailed species-level inventory of introduced grasses in South Africa, and use this and other literature sources to elucidate the history of grass introductions, identify possible pathways of introduction and spread, determine which species are having impacts, and predict possible future trends.

We found that over 200 non-native grass species have been introduced to the country, 37 of which have become invasive. This reflects in part an extensive historical effort to introduce non-native grasses via formal pasture introduction programmes, but more recently an increasing number of horticultural species have been introduced. Most grass introductions into South Africa have been of species native to Eurasia, although more recent introductions have often been from regions other than Eurasia.

Non-native grass species richness and abundance is highest in the south-west of the country, but has recently increased much more in other parts of the country.

We found at least 21 species with recorded environmental and economic impacts in South Africa. There is little literature on the management of these species, and current legislation does not adequately cover these species.

We discuss our results with regards to previous findings on grass invasions and make suggestions for possible future problems with non-native grasses in South Africa.

Read 3296 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 May 2016 12:20

General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…


This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training


During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group


Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?


On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released


Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised


The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more