Alien clearing efforts on Agulhas Plain enhanced
The Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative’s (ABI) interim coordination unit is launching a renewed campaign to eradicate invasive alien plants on the Agulhas Plain. ABI is revamping its Alien Clearing Work Group, to meet new goals for 2012. The group had its first meeting in February. Flower Valley Conservation Trust is overseeing the interim coordination of ABI 2.
Invasive alien plants are considered the biggest threat to the country’s biological diversity and water security. According to the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), they use up to 13 percent of available surface water on the Plain. On a national scale, alien plants are believed to reduce annual water flow by more than three billion cubic metres.
According to Roger Bailey, Chairman of the group, with the world focusing on water in March, ABI is re-emphasising the impact of aliens on water resources. “Currently there is a global lack of awareness and understanding of the threats posed by alien plants. So with National Water Week having been celebrated in March, this is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the challenges created by aliens, especially to water resources.”
The ABI Alien Management Coordination Group is the proposed name for the collaboration between organisations involved in this area. It is a unique initiative that is creating common ground in the Overberg for stakeholders, funders and private landowners to coordinate their alien clearing activities.
Bailey says, “Without coordination, collective action and follow up, clearing the land of aliens is futile. Aliens will simply regrow, and neighbours will keep re-infesting each other’s properties, wasting the little money that is available for clearing.” The group is to develop strategic action plans to clear aliens across the Agulhas Plain and ultimately the whole district. This coordination function within ABI is being funded by the Drakenstein Trust.
ABI is currently preparing for its second phase, with ABI Phase One having ended in 2010. A steering group was selected last year to drive the creation of ABI Phase Two.