The topic of Invasive Alien Plant (IAP) removal in Kei Mouth is often at the fore of discussions on the Kei Mouth Chat Group. There are many opinions and suggestions put forward on this forum. Kei Mouth Ratepayers and Residents’ Association (KMRRA), along with the Kei Revival Group and the WESSA Green Coast Committee have been hard at work in the background, investigating the issue and formulating a plan to deal with IAP management in our village. It is imperative that we have a plan in place with an agreed and co-ordinated effort to manage and control IAP’s. Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson has formulated a comprehensive document in this regard. The information below highlights some important aspects of the document. The full document can be accessed here.
The impacts of invasive alien plant species on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in South Africa have been widely researched and well documented. Alien plants species are considered among the principal threats to biodiversity in South Africa. However, these impacts are not restricted to biodiversity loss alone, but also extend to the goods and services that healthy, intact ecosystems are able to provide.
The increased biomass resulting from invasion by alien woody species increases fire risk and results in hotter, more dangerous fires. These hotter fires destroy natural seed banks and increase water repellence in soils, reducing infiltration and increasing erosion. This, in turn, gives rise to increased flooding and consequently damage to property and infrastructure. The density of alien plant species also reduces recreational opportunities by eliminating access.
Another important ramification of invasion by large woody species such as the Australian wattles is that they alter the quantity and quality of water in catchment areas. These species have higher transpiration rates than the indigenous flora. This means, less water in the soil, reduced streamflow, and reduced yields from dams. Water security is becoming increasingly uncertain due to climate change thus increasing the necessity of clearing catchment areas of alien plant invasions.
What are we aiming to achieve through this document?
- Provide guidance on the removal of existing alien invasive species in Kei Mouth
- Establish a plan to ensure that alien invasive plants do not become established
- Establish a plan to ensure that alien invasive species do not become dominant in all or part of the landscape
- To implement a monitoring programme to:
- detect the presence of alien plant species
- monitor the success of the alien invasive eradication measures.
How do we go about achieving this?
The South African Government has listed steps to be undertaken when implementing an IAP control and management plan. In line with the Government’s listed steps, KMRRA, and Kei Mouth WESSA Green Coast are proposing to follow the steps when formulating the management plan.
Carry out a site assessment to establish the current situation
Set objectives based on resources available and priorities
Develop and implement and action plan to achieve objectives
Monitor Performance and change actions as necessary
Where are we in terms of the above steps?
Carry out a site assessment
To date no formal assessment of the the current situation has been implemented. It is agreed that we do have an IAP problem in Kei Mouth, but without a formal assessment, we are unable to establish the ‘full picture’. To carry out a formal assessment we would need a team of interested individuals to assist with conducting a comprehensive mapping exercise of the area. You can contact us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once this information is available, it will be possible to set objectives, develop a plan, implement the plan and thereafter monitor the plan.
Without knowing what the current situation is, it is impossible to establish a formal plan. The efforts of well-meaning individuals, spraying and cutting down trees where they believe is appropriate, may not assist in achieving the objectives of the management plan, and may in fact cause further unintended negative consequences such as a fire hazard.
The way forward for Kei Mouth
The KMRRA would like to acknowledge the efforts by private individuals in IAP clearing and hope to continue to work with passionate individuals following a formal management plan. This process, however, needs to be formalised for a number of reasons, namely:
- Kei Mouth is part of the WESSA Green Coast which stipulates that we need an IAP control plan
- Great Kei Municipality Invasive Control Plan is not accessible and has not met the requirements for the Working for Water Programme and government Invasive Control Plans.
- The reality is that we are not expecting to receive any assistance from Great Kei Municipality in this regard. with this in mind:
- We would like to apply for funding from Working for Water and other sources of funding that individuals may be to assist us in souring. Please contact email@example.com if you are able to assist!
- In order to access / leverage funding:
- We need to have a targeted approach with well-defined goals.
The KMRRA has commissioned this document as part of a project to be undertaken by the WESSA Green Coast and the Kei Mouth Revival Group. A sub-committee for alien removal falls under KMRRA.
The sub-committee will:
- Agree on the land parcel to be monitored and controlled.
- Arrange for an initial survey of the village to fill in missing data and identify priority areas and species.
- Conduct follow-up surveys every six months
- Report on progress to KMRRA, with the report included in the annual WESSA Green Coast report, which forms part of Kei Mouth’s annual WESSA Green Coast Application.
How can I help?
There are many ways that individuals can help with establishing and implementing a formal IAP Monitoring and Control Plan.
- Donate your time to assist with the initial survey of the village.
- We will provide the necessary training needed to conduct the survey
- Donate your time, staff or other resources needed for us to implement the monitoring and control plan.
- Assist us with procuring funding for the Kei Mouth IAP Monitoring and Control Programme
In your own yard:
- Educate yourself about the plants in your garden-
- Identify the Invasive Alien Plants
- Establish which category they belong to
- Eratidate that that are in category 1a and 1b
- Replace Invasive Alien Plants with Indigenous Species
- Check that any you plants going into your garden are not on the Invasive Species list.
- Refer to books and the internet for info.
Where can I find more info?
KMRRA, along with the Kei Mouth WESSA Green Coast is committed to providing the community with information. We will be running a series called “Know your Kei Country Aliens” where we will be regularly publishing information on Invasive Alien Plants. This series will include Invasive Species found in Kei Country, how to identify them and how to get rid of them.
Read the first article in this series, which gives a general introduction to Invasive Alien Species, what the law says and our first example of a Kei Country Invasive Alien Plant- The well-known Lantana.
Read the full version of the KMRRA Alien Invasive Management document for detailed information on Invasive Alien Management in Kei Mouth. This document also includes a list of known invasive species in Kei Country.
A great resource is a book entitled “Problem Plants and Alien Weeds of South Africa“, by Clive Bromilow.
- Cost: R 410,00 delivered to Kei Mouth. (Retail Price usually R 450)
(Contact Monica Maroun on firstname.lastname@example.org to order your copy and have it delivered to Kei Mouth Free of Charge.
Chat to Monica about cost of delivery to elsewhere in South Africa.)