The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has released the first fully comprehensive guide to the region’s naturalised and invasive succulent plants on the 15th of May 2012. Titled Naturalised and Invasive Succulents of southern Africa, this publication has been in the making for a few years,and is the product of an international collaboration between the Belgian Global Taxonomy Initiative, ABC Taxa and SANBI.
This book is significant in that it provides essential information on a group of alien invasive plants of great environmental concern. Most species are garden escapes, and it is believed that others could follow, making this publication not only of value to the seasoned botanist, but that it provides an everyday gardener or home owner tools for identifying invader plants, empowering them to make sound choices and play a meaningful role in protecting our ecological infrastructure.
According to one of the authors, Professor Gideon Smith, SANBI’s Head of Biosystematics and Collections, “The risks posed by invasive species cannot be underestimated. Invasive species threaten human livelihoods, economic development and biodiversity, and are believed to be the second most significant cause of species loss after habitat destruction.” Smith emphasized “The importance of publications such as Naturalised and Invasive Succulents of southern Africa, are key to enriching the pool of knowledge about this urgent environmental challenge and empowers researchers, f the public and decision-makers to take appropriate action and make informed decisions.”
The value of this work is immense. The taxonomy and identifications presented underpin national environmental programmes costing hundreds of millions of Rand, and it is a reliable source of information on nearly 70 beautiful, but increasingly dangerous succulent plants.
Described as an indispensable reference work that serves to enhance the understanding, knowledge and eradication of invasive succulents, the publication comprises of compelling and authoritative texts by renowned experts.
For ease of use and reference, the book includes distribution maps which show the regional occurrence of each invader. The text is accompanied by more than 280 full colour photographs that visually portray each species and their adopted habitats. Close-ups are included when necessary to aid identification.
Up-to-date plant names and classifications, names previously widely used, as well as common names are incorporated and introductory chapters on, amongst others, the history of invasive succulents, their biology and impact, and legislation and control programmes make for a fascinating read.
The book has been published as Vol 11(2011) of ABC taxa. It can be browsed online at: http://issuu.com/ysamyn/docs/abctaxa_vol11_with_covers_lr