South Africa is world renowned as a leader in the science and management of biological invasions, but has been lagging behind in one key area—eradication. As of 2010 South Africa had ~8750 introduced plant taxa, 660 recorded as naturalised, 198 included in invasive species legislation, but only 64 subjected to regular control.
Ecological risk assessments are used to identify potential invasive species from the pool of introduced species in a given country or area, and to assess the seriousness of their impacts. C·I·B researchers have developed a qualitative risk assessment method for determining the risk of establishment and spread of the invasive Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) in the Limpopo River basin in northern South Africa.
An article in Farmers weekly on the use of bumblebees for applying pesticide to flowers stimulated a response from several South African scientists, including C·I·B researchers Dave Richardson, Steven Johnson and C·I·B PhD graduate James Rodger. Although the pesticide has not been approved for use in South Africa, the article said, quite incorrectly, that nothing stops South African farmers from using bumblebees for pollination in the meantime.
The process of biological invasion involves the movement of propagules, be they individuals, seeds or pollen, from one area to another area. The success and rate of introduced species establishment and reproduction in the new area rest, among other factors, on existing landscape features and anthropogenic disturbance, for example, agricultural activities.