Original Research

Use of a rapid roadside survey to detect potentially invasive plant species along the Garden Route, South Africa

Johan A. Baard, Tineke Kraaij
Koedoe | Vol 61, No 1 | a1515 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v61i1.1515 | © 2019 Johan A. Baard, Tineke Kraaij | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 January 2018 | Published: 28 January 2019

About the author(s)

Johan A. Baard, Garden Route National Park, South African National Parks, South Africa
Tineke Kraaij, School of Natural Resource Management, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa


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Abstract

Early detection of emerging or sleeper weeds and monitoring of alien plant invasions forms the foundation of effective invasive alien plant management. Using a rapid roadside survey technique, we aimed to (1) establish a baseline of alien plant distribution and abundance along roads in the Garden Route, South Africa, and (2) identify priority species (particularly sleeper weeds) and priority areas to inform appropriate management action. We surveyed along 530 km of roads and recorded 109 alien and/or extralimital species across 1942 point locations. Of these, 35 species were considered to be sleeper weeds on account of displaying estimated dispersal distances distinctive of invasive plants and not being listed by the South African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA) or regulated by South African legislation. Roads along natural forest and fynbos vegetation (often within the Garden Route National Park) displayed lower incidences of alien plants than those associated with degraded or transformed land, with roads along farmland associated with the highest incidences of alien plants. Roads in the Southern Cape region had more species and higher densities of alien plants than roads in the Tsitsikamma region, and a few species were exclusive to either.

Conservation implications: Our inventory contributed significant new records and range extensions to SAPIA, while the identified sleeper weeds offered suggestions for species that may be considered for regulation under the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of South Africa. We furthermore provided information to facilitate (1) timely management of emerging invasive alien plants, (2) prioritisation of species and areas for management action, and (3) future monitoring of alien plants in the Garden Route National Park and surrounds.


Keywords

Invasive alien plants; roadside survey; emerging weeds; invasive alien plant control; spread; dispersal

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