John Wesson is the Regional Manager Conservation for the Wildlife & Environment Society of SA (WESSA) and in this role he has initiated a project to combat invasive alien species.
John says “WESSA has a project to target Queen of the Night with biological controls, growing and spreading the bug that kills it. This plant is found throughout the Magaliesberg and in some areas it has already formed dense thickets.”
The Agricultural Research Council indicates that South Africa is regarded as one of the world leaders in the field of biological control of invasive alien plants.
“Since the 1930s we have brought 29 invasive alien plant species under complete or substantial biological control. In the process, 111 species or biotypes of natural enemies were released, 85 of which became established. Remarkable successes have been achieved with either controlling or reducing the invasive potential of many invasive plants including cacti, aquatic weeds, Australian wattles, triffid and lantana.”
Tested and safe biocontrol agents are distributed in cooperation with the Working for Water Programme of the Department Of Water Affairs.
WESSA has trained a team which will work on the edge of the Biosphere in the Krugersdorp area. The team is focussing on deep gullies where plants like American Bramble, Green Wattle and Bugweed are the main species.
“We have funds for 7 months work and can hopefully raise more funding to continue into the larger Biosphere area,” says John.
Learn to identify the common invaders
These are links to Fact Sheets produced by the Agricultural Research Council.
The law requires land users (not only owners!) to clear invasive aliens.