1 November 2017 – CABI has published three open access eBooks on invasive species in Eastern Africa, Laikipia County (Kenya) and Southeast Asia. The guides were written by Dr Arne Witt, CABI’s Regional (Africa and Asia) Coordinator for Invasive Species.
One of the major barriers to effective management of invasive species, especially in developing countries, is the lack of information on their presence, impact, and management. Invasive species are a global problem threatening biodiversity, causing economic losses, and impacting on human health and livelihoods.
When a non-native plant species becomes invasive, it can take over grazing land and out-compete crops for limited resources. This can significantly affect livestock production and crop yields, as can insect pests and diseases.
These Field Guides have been developed to help address this issue. They provide insights into the various threats posed by these alien ‘intruders’ and offer an entry point for those who want to learn more about invasive plants. They include information on naturalised, nearly naturalised, invasive and potentially invasive plant species, with descriptive text and hundreds of line drawings and colour images for easy identification.
Only those species considered to be threatening biodiversity and livestock production have been included. The text provides additional information on the origin and impact of each plant species. The introductory sections provide a general overview of the threats posed by invasive plants and options with regard to their control. The appendices provide detailed information on herbicide use and biological control.
Regional problems caused by invasive species
Eastern Africa is home to a tremendous variety of plant and animal species, including iconic wildlife species such as chimpanzees, gorillas, lions, rhinos and elephants, and hosts one of the largest wildlife migrations on Earth. The region is also home to millions of people who largely depend on its bountiful natural resources for their survival. Yet this extraordinary biodiversity and the livelihoods of people who depend on it are threatened by, among other factors, the uncontrolled spread of invasive species.
See the Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa, by Arne Witt, co-author Quentin Luke
Laikipia County in Kenya, known for its abundant wildlife and its pastoralist communities, is a mosaic of grasslands, savannah woodland and forest. This area hosts the highest populations of endangered large mammals in Kenya, including half of the country’s rhino population, together with significant populations of elephants, Grévy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, and wild dogs. However, these iconic mammals, and the habitats in which they thrive, are threatened by a host of invasive plant species. These plants also threaten the livelihoods of thousands of people dependent on these productive rangelands.
See the Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Laikipia County, by Arne Witt
Southeast Asia occupies about 3% of the earth’s surface area, yet hosts 20% of all known plant and animal species. Many of these species are endemic, occurring only in this region. Sadly, of the 64,800 known species in Southeast Asia, 1,312 are endangered, and may be lost if efforts are not made to deal with the many threats they face. Invasive species are one of the most significant threats to this spectacularly diverse region. The UN Environment-GEF Project “Removing Barriers to Invasive Species Management in Production and Protection Forests in SE Asia” was developed to deal specifically with this issue.
See the Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Southeast Asia, by Arne Witt
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