Coordinating invasive alien species management in a biodiversity hotspot: The CAPE Invasive Alien Animals Working Group
van Wilgen, N.J.
MetadataShow full item record
Background: The effectiveness of invasive alien species management in South Africa, and elsewhere, can be mproved by ensuring there are strong links and feedbacks between science and management. The CAPE Invasive Alien Animals Working Group (CAPE IAAWG) was established in 2008 to enhance cooperation among stakeholders such as implementing agencies and researchers, and thereby improve the management of invasive animals in the Greater Cape Floristic Region. Objectives: In this article we highlight where and how the working group has advanced our understanding of research and the implementation of management objectives and consider the working group’s successes and failures. Methods: We analyse the attendance of meetings by different stakeholders and the frequency of discussion topics on meeting agendas throughout the sequence of meetings from 2008 to 2019. We document insights based on published accounts or the experiences of the authors from eight different management projects. Results: Meetings are attended by stakeholders from NGOs, universities, and local, provincial and national government agencies as well as private individuals. Topics of discussion ranged from details of specific alien animal invasions (e.g. the House Crow in Cape Town), to considering the risks posed by broad groups (e.g. earthworms), to specific management techniques (e.g. guidelines for trapping invasive alien birds). Through the eight projects described here the CAPE IAAWG has: (i) contributed to capacity building through funding and advising on post-graduate research projects; (ii) provided ad hoc support to staff of agencies that implement invasive alien animal control; (iii) acted as a focal point for a community of practice that is supportive of decision making and policy development; and (iv) played a vital role in linking research, management and policy in a manner accessible to a broader range of stakeholders. The projects undertaken by the group reveal several lessons for managing invasive animals: (i) the importance of logistics and contract efficiency, (ii) the need for effective stakeholder engagement by the project team, (iii) the need to effectively address conflicts between role players, and (iv) the importance of including ethical and animal rights considerations in the decision making processes. Conclusion: The CAPE IAAWG has been a valuable forum to improve management effectiveness and support implementation decisions. Due to its small cost and time footprint, the working group has remained viable and retained a core of committed members, ensuring ongoing institutional buy-in. The working group will remain successful so long as the group is supported by its members and their organisations.