Southern African Mountains Invasive Alien Plants Working Group

Southern African Mountains Invasive Alien Plants Working Group

Who are we?

The Southern African Mountains Invasive Alien Plants Working Group was jointly initiated by the Centre for biological control, Rhodes University and Afromontane Research Unit, University of the Free State, QwaQwa Campus, Phuthaditjhaba in (2021) by a group of researchers and managers concerned about the impacts of Invasive alien Plants in the Mountain areas of South Africa.

Our aims are to:

  • co-ordinate work done in mountain catchment regions of Southern Africa
  • compile a list of priority invasive species for management, based on risk and management feasibility
  • ensure the data capturing from members is relevant, transferable and useful
  • ensure best practice control methods are used against target invasive species
  • improve co-ordination and communication among research institutes, invasive species managers and relevant government departments
  • engage with external stakeholders to raise awareness of the need to manage high mountain catchment invasive species; and make policy recommendations
  • develop a national strategic framework for the management of IAP invading mountain regions of southern Africa

Why? ( focus species / area )

The mountains of southern Africa support critically important ecosystem services – notably water production – and are exceptionally rich in floral and faunal biodiversity and endemics. However, these mountains are marginalised regions and are under threat from detrimental land-uses, unsustainable use of natural resources, climate change, poor governance and invasive alien plants (IAP). Invasive alien plants in particular pose a substantial and continuously increasing problem in driving ecosystem changes, often with dire results. Owing to the different climate, altitude and relief found in these mountains they support a unique suite of IAPs compared to their surrounding landscapes, and because of the steep slopes and dangerous terrain conventional methods of research and management are inappropriate.

Our research

This working group seeks to increase collaboration among researchers and conservation managers to facilitate best management and research practices for IAPs on southern African mountains, with the ultimate goal of reducing their spread and impacts.

Student bursaries


The Working Group will meet biannually (approx. every 6 months).

Get in contact: Chair: TBA. Currently facilitating Grant Martin Email: