The problem of Invasive Alien Plants

Invasive alien plants (IAPs) are one of the greatest threats to plant and animal biodiversity. Of the estimated 9000 plants introduced into South Africa, 198 are currently classified as being invasive. It is estimated that these plants cover about 10% of the country and the problem is growing at an exponential rate.

IAPs result in a net loss of value amounting to some R684 million per year to the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). This includes significant costs due to the impact of IAPs on water resources (utilising 7-13% of the available surface water) and the loss of income for the wild flower and tourism industry. The cost of clearing IAPS represents a considerable burden and farmers are unlikely to clear IAPs due to financial reasons unless there are gains from clearing their lands (such as aesthetic values) or appropriate incentives are put in place (such as payment for ecosystem services). The flora of the CFR is highly threatened and designated as a biodiversity conservation ‘hotspot’. The C.A.P.E. Programme unites government and civil society in a strategy to conserve biodiversity, while creating benefits for all the people of the Cape Floristic Region. The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative (ABI) is a pilot landscape initiative that builds on a partnership between South African National Parks and Fauna and Flora International initiated in 2004. This project explored the opportunity to reduce the cost and burdens of clearing invasive alien plants by producing bioenergy (IAP2ENERGY).

>>The full report can be found in the resources section<<

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