On the 16th of February 2016, the SRU hosted a follow up focus group with professionals from SANParks, MTO, Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) and SRU/NMMU research associates.

A previous workshop held after the SCLI seminar in December 2015 highlighted that current invasive plant monitoring techniques, as used by Working for Water, fall short and the data collected is ineffective for practicing adaptive management. One of the main deficiencies of the current method is its lack of feedback to learning and adaptation.

The focus group participants critically discuss indicators of monitoring successful invasive plant management programmes that promote the healthy functioning of social-ecological systems.  Four variables for monitoring were identified for discussion. These were diversity, connectivity, learning and slow variables.In the discussion its was noted that there are social, landscape and species level indicators that should be considered for monitoring short and long term success of invasive plant management programmes.

Some of these included:

  • Successive participation and representation of a diversity stakeholders involved in invasive plant management activities
  • Transfer of knowledge between stakeholders
  • Adaptation in policy, planning and practices
  • Change in abundance of indigenous verses invasive flora
  • Indicators of soil health
  • Indicators of social and landscape fragmentation
  • long term impact of clime change for plant species composition

The SRU plans to follow up these findings in a workshop with Working for Water implementers in March 2016, to assess and prioritize the monitoring indicators identified from this focus group.