The Invasive Species Programme: Early Detection and Rapid Response (ISP: EDRR) launched its Five Year Review
at a breakfast on the 3rd of December 2013 at Rhodes Memorial Restaurant on the slopes of Devil’s Peak. The venue is adjacent to the only known naturalised population in South Africa of Acacia paradoxa, one of the targets for eradication. The Western Cape team, headed by Ernita van Wyk, has been responsible for co-ordinating the management of this species since 2009.
The Five Year Review was well received by all guests. It covers the work of the ISP: EDRR from 2008 to 2013 and the lessons learnt over this period through early detection, evaluation, research co-ordination and eradication.
The theme of “Celebrating Partnerships” demonstrated EDRR’s appreciation and admiration for its partners and their contribution to helping them realise their goals. All speakers emphasised the essential role partnerships play in achieving the eradication of alien invasive species.
Five speakers - Ms Louise Stafford from the City of Cape Town EDRR: Invasive Species Programme Co-ordinator; Prof. Dave Richardson, Director of the Centre for Invasion Biology – Stellenbosch University; Nomahlubi Sishuba, Director: Bio-security – Department of Environmental Affairs; Mrs Carmel Mbizvo, Deputy Director General from SANBI and Dr Guy Preston, Deputy Director General at Working for Water - spoke on wider invasive species issues with specific reference to the ISP: EDRR strategy and their active involvement in supporting our goals and successes over the past five years.
Through working with other programmes and government institutions, the ISP has made great strides in its work focused on detection, risk assessment, information management, research co-ordination and eradication.
Over the past five years the programme has made noticeable progress in fulfilling its mandate with research on and management of up to 120 alien invasive species, some of which are targets for eradication. The review provides insight into the achievements of the programme. A few highlights from the publication include the growth of the ISP team from one individual to the current team of 33 researchers, co-ordinators and managers. In its efforts to support job creation the project has created over 38,000 person-days of work in 2012-2013 alone and the team and students affiliated to the programme have published, on average, up to three scientific papers a year. The programme currently has fifteen papers either in preparation or that which are published.
“We trust the review successfully communicates another key element that makes our programme work and our achievements possible – namely our dynamic staff. The ISP: EDRR Programme has since received very positive feedback from our partners and stakeholders in environmental management and conservation, which has added to the vigour with which we approach future work. It has also become evident that there is an increasing need for further collaboration in the sector to enhance the reach and quality of our work.” Said van Wyk.