Invasive Alien Plants and Wetlands

A common site in the KTT catchment, showing the invasion in wetlands by Black Wattle & Duckweed
A common site in the KTT catchment, showing the invasion in wetlands by Black Wattle & Duckweed

Half of South Africa’s wetlands have been destroyed and those that remain are the most threatened of the country’s ecosystems (Driver et al., 2012). One cause of the wetlands’ reduction can be attributed to the spread of invasive species. Certain alien plants consume larger quantities of water than indigenous species (Gorgens and van Wilgen, 2004). Those invaders introduced to upper catchments spread quickly and reduce the flow of water. This limits water available downstream to wetlands, thus reducing their distribution and function (Richardson and van Wilgen, 2004). As freshwater supply in South Africa is dependent upon wetlands, invaders that restrict water to these areas in turn threaten the country’s already stressed water supply (Turpie et al., 2008). Therefore in order to secure the future of South Africa’s water sources, it is important to manage those alien plants which diminish wetlands.

References:

http://bgis.sanbi.org/nba/NBA2011_SynthesisReport_lowres.pdf

https://www.cbd.int/financial/pes/southafrica-pesworkwateralienstatus.pdf

http://www.capefurniture.za.org/comp_2011/redgum/Working%20for%20water%20invasive%20alien%20plant%20species.pdf

http://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/5811/Turpie_Working%282008%29.pdf?sequence=1

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s