“Invasive species are a huge and rapidly growing threat to South Africa’s biodiversity. Invasions interact with other elements of global change, such as habitat transformation and rapid climate change, to threaten our world-famous biodiversity and the sustainability of the many services we rely on from our natural and semi-natural ecosystems”. So says Professor Dave Richardson, Director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (C·I·B).
The C·I·B was established in 2004, as part of the Department of Science and Technology’s “Centres of Excellence” programme to develop capacity and to undertake world-class research to inform the management of biological invasions. The C·I·B has produced almost a thousand publications in peer-reviewed journals, trained over 200 students, and played a major role in developing world-class policies and legislation relating to invasive species.
One of the C·I·B’s objectives is to convey accurate information on issues regarding invasive species to all sectors of society. To this end, the Centre runs an exciting outreach programme called Iimbovane, participates in numerous science expos and outreach activities, and provides summaries of research projects and events through the C·I·B website, social media, and articles in popular magazines and newspapers.
The C·I·B has now collaborated with Quest to produce a special issue of the magazine dedicated to biological invasions in South Africa. The articles in the special issue provide a rich overview of some of the exciting and important issues that are being addressed under the banner of “invasion science”. “We hope that readers will find the contributions interesting and would welcome correspondence from the public on any of the topics covered here” says Prof. Richardson.