A proposed national strategic framework for the management of Cactaceae in South Africa
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Background: South Africa has a long history of managing biological invasions. The rapid increase in the scale and complexity of problems associated with invasions calls for new, more strategic management approaches. This paper explores strategic management approaches for cactus invasions in South Africa. Cacti (Cactaceae) have had a long history of socio-economic benefits, considerable negative environmental and socio-economic impacts, and a wide range of management interventions in South Africa. Objectives: To guide the future management of cactus invasions, a national strategic framework was developed by the South African Cactus Working Group. The overarching aim of this framework is to reduce the negative impacts of cacti to a point where their benefits significantly outweigh the losses. Method: Four strategic objectives were proposed: (1) all invasive and potentially invasive cactus species should be prevented from entering the country, (2) new incursions of cactus species must be rapidly detected and eradicated, (3) the impacts of invasive cacti must be reduced and contained and (4) socio-economically useful cacti (both invasive and non-invasive species) must be utilised sustainably to minimise the risk of further negative impacts. Results: There are currently 35 listed invasive cactus species in the country; 10 species are targeted for eradication and 12 are under partial or complete biological control. We discuss approaches for the management of cactus species, their introduction and spread pathways and spatial prioritisation of control efforts. Conclusion: A thorough understanding of context-specific invasion processes and stakeholder support is needed when implementing strategies for a group of invasive species.