National Invasive Species Week (NISW) 05 to 10 October 2020
Invasive species are one of the biggest threats to biological diversity. In many cases, they can also have devastating consequences for human and animal health, agricultural productivity and trade. The prevention, eradication and management of invasive species is a key challenge in the conservation of natural resources. An integrated approach is needed to tackle invasive species threats through creating awareness, fostering responsible conservation practices and promoting voluntary compliance with relevant prescripts. Active public participation is crucial in the effective management of invasive species. Awareness-raising campaigns are fundamental in influencing human behaviour and facilitating pro-environmentally friendly choices which reduce the risks posed by the intentional or unintentional introduction of invasive species. The National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, and the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations are aimed at mitigating the destructive and negative impacts of such invasive species through an informed policy framework and management plan.
The National Invasive Species Week (NISW) awareness campaign is set to take place during the week of 5 to 10 October 2020. The purpose of the campaign is to inform the public and our stakeholders about invasive species, their negative impacts on natural ecosystems and livelihoods. The campaign will create awareness on what can be done by our stakeholders and the public at large in safeguarding South Africa from invasive species. It will also increase awareness among people about the importance and benefits of controlling invasive species. It is crucial to have an understanding of invasive species and to work towards the effective management of these invaders to protect and restore our ecosystems.
The campaign will bring together landowners, farmers, government departments, non-governmental organisations, organs of state, academics, traders and the general public to partner with the department in the management of invasive species in South Africa.
The NISW 2020 campaign is set to be rolled out as a joint biosecurity compliance operation in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province. Various stakeholders are set to be engaged and urged to support the efforts deployed by the department(s) in managing and containing invasive species. The department is collaborating with various partners including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, City of eThekwini, Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, South African National Biodiversity Institute and a number of local municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.
The theme for 2020 is, “Know what you keep, grow and breed” as it might have dire consequences to our biodiversity, economy and agriculture.
Every person can contribute in protecting our biodiversity and ecosystems from alien invasive species by familiarising themselves with the invasive species listed under the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations; and complying with the legislation. We have a shared responsibility to manage the problem of invasive species, and taking steps to control the spread, and eradicate invasive species where possible.
What you can do to support the NISW campaign?
- Learn about invasive species, especially those found in your area.
- Do not give invaders a free ride to a new location, so clean your hiking boots, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear after you’ve enjoyed the local wildlife.
- Don’t move firewood over long distances. Instead, buy it where you’ll burn it, or gather on site when permitted.
- Plant indigenous and other water-wise non-invasive plants in your garden. Remove any invasive plant species and dispose of it responsibly.
- Never dump unwanted aquariums or live bait into watercourses such as dams, lakes, or rivers and do not flush aquatic species down the toilet whether dead or alive.
- Apply for a permit to conduct restricted activities with Category 2 invasive species.
- Report when you see new incursions of alien and invasive species. Visit www.ispot.org.za
- Volunteer to help remove invasive species from natural areas.
- Be involved in awareness activities by joining invasive species forums and spreading the word to those around us.
- Share your different activities with the Department during the week of the campaign using hashtags #InvasiveSpeciesWeek and #InvasiveSpecies