Managing alien invasive species to restore aquatic ecosystems in South Africa

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Olaf Weyl

Publication Date:

Freshwater ecosystems in South Africa contain diverse communities that exhibit high degrees of endemism particularly with regard to dragonflies, crabs, amphibians, and fishes. For example, 90% of the native fishes that inhabit the Cape Fold Ecoregion are found nowhere else on earth. As is the case globally, freshwater ecosystems are in a state of crisis because of the increasing demands that the human population has on these systems. As a result, most are subject to multiple stressors, including habitat modification, pollution, flow reduction and the introduction of alien invasive species (AIS). Of these stressors, the introduction of AIS are considered one of the least reversible, and in South Africa their control and management is a legislated priority. As a result, the country has invested significant resources in restoring invaded ecosystems through combatting invasions through direct removals and biological control. In this paper, we provide a review of the extent of alien fish and plant invasions in aquatic ecosystems and use current examples of the response strategies to mitigate impacts and, in some cases, restore ecosystems.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Society for Ecological Restoration