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Stellenbosch University (2021)

Evaluating detection efforts and management of alien and invasive species by citizens in Western Cape, South Africa

Tshali, Nolwethu

Titre : Evaluating detection efforts and management of alien and invasive species by citizens in Western Cape, South Africa

Auteur : Tshali, Nolwethu

Université de soutenance : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Master Degree (Botany and Zoology) 2021

Résumé partiel
Invasive alien species (IAS) are a growing threat globally and cause a variety of ecological, economic and social impacts. People play a key role in introducing IAS and facilitating their spread but also in implementing and supporting management. Research and management of IAS traditionally focuses on biological dimensions and on state operated large scale control initiatives, with little emphasis on the social dimensions. Citizens can, however, contribute to prevention, detection, eradication and containment of IAS and getting an understanding of the extent of knowledge, perceptions and involvement in IAS management is important. I evaluate the motivations and contributions of individual volunteers and groups to the control of IAS in South Africa’s Western Cape province. I use two different online questionnaires, one for volunteer group co-ordinators and the other for individual volunteers involved in the control of invasive alien plant species (IAPS). In total, I identify 52 volunteer groups, most of which were motivated to take action by the rapid expansion of IAPS in their local areas, and their perceived need to maintain pristine fynbos. I estimate that half of these groups that participated in the survey clear nearly 5 300 ha of land with estimated labour costs of ZAR 5.1 million annually (equivalent to USD 0.32 million) when aligned with formal state management cost estimates. Most volunteer groups work on Australian Acacia species, raising their own funds to facilitate their work. Further, many groups affirm that they require support from governmental conservation organisations, for manpower to remove biomass and bigger plants, tools, training for new members and to comply with legislation on herbicide use. The majority of volunteers (82%) detect and report invasive species to relevant authorities, citizen science platforms and to their team leaders, while only 16% of volunteers said that they have never reported IAPS. Volunteers themselves gain fulfilment and build their social capital by meeting and interacting with new people and preserving native biodiversity.

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Page publiée le 20 mai 2022