Prioritising potential incursions for contingency planning: pathways, species, and sites in Durban (eThekwini), South Africa as an example
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Increased trade and travel have resulted in an increasing rate of introduction of biological organisms to new regions. Urban environments, such as cities, are hubs for human activities facilitating the introduction of alien species. Additionally, cities are susceptible to invading organisms as a result of the highly altered and transformed nature of these environments. Despite best efforts at prevention, new incursions of alien species will occur; therefore, prioritising incursion response efforts is essential. This study explores these ideas to identify priorities for strategic prevention planning in a South African city, Durban (eThekwini), by combining data from alien species watch lists, environmental criteria, and the pathways which facilitate the introduction of alien species in the city. Three species (with known adverse impacts elsewhere in the world) were identified as highly likely to be introduced and established in Durban (Alternanthera philoxeroides, Lithobates catesbeianus and Solenopsis invicta). These species are most likely to enter at either the Durban Harbour; pet and aquarium stores; or plant nurseries and garden centres – therefore active surveillance should target these sites as well as adjacent major river systems and infrastructure. We suggest that the integrated approach (species, pathways, and sites) demonstrated in this study will help prioritise resources to detect the most likely and damaging future incursions of alien species.
- RESEARCH: Wilson, JRU