Botanical gardens and biosecurity
Eight biosecurity hazards presented by botanical gardens and the opportunities they provide to improve management and communication. Materials going into the gardens such as seeds, tubers, cuttings, mulch, compost and soil could potentially transport and introduce pests to the gardens (a, d). On the other hand, materials leaving the gardens such as sold plants, prunings and dead plants can potentially transport pests established in the gardens to the external environment (b, h). Other activities of the gardens, including visits by local and international visitors (f), the use of machinery and equipment (e), and plant exchange between botanical gardens (c) may also serve as pathways of movement of pests to- and from the gardens. Additionally, pests may naturally disperse between managed estates of the gardens and the adjacent natural vegetation (g). (Graphic from Wondafrash et al. 2021)

Botanical gardens and biosecurity

A recent paper, led by Dr Mesfin Gossa and published in Biodiversity and Conservation, reviews the value as well as the hazards associated with botanical gardens for biosecurity at a global scale.

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Prioritising pathways, alien species, and sites for contingency planning
Climatic models developed using the Maxent modelling algorithm to assess the likelihood of species establishing in Durban (a: alligator weed; b: southern sandbur; c: American bullfrog; and d: red imported fire ant). The climatic models produced were overlaid with data on potential points of first introduction (pet and aquarium shops; plant nurseries and garden centres; and the Durban Harbour) to identify potential sites of first naturalisation for the species identified in this study. (Graphic: Padayachee et al. 2019)

Prioritising pathways, alien species, and sites for contingency planning

New species are introduced to environments outside their native ranges, sometimes causing negative ecological and socio-economic impacts. Identifying which species are potentially problematic is important in planning strategic responses for preventing introductions and mitigating impacts in vulnerable environments such as cities.

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Science and management meet to evaluate and attempt eradication of the invasive <em>Melaleuca parvistaminea</em>
A single plant growing out of a termite mound in the Kluitjieskraal pine plantation near Wolseley. (Photo credits: John Wilson)

Science and management meet to evaluate and attempt eradication of the invasive Melaleuca parvistaminea

Research on rough-barked Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca parvistaminea) in South Africa began in 2009 when the newly formed SANBI’s Invasive Species Programme attempt to identify potentially invasive alien plant species as targets for eradication.

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Multi-scale predictive maps can help us manage tree invaders
Haylee Kaplan collecting soil core samples along a plantation road

Multi-scale predictive maps can help us manage tree invaders

Eradication of invasive alien plants requires that all populations of the plants have been found and every plant removed. This entails intensive searching, which often comes at a great expense. Maps that show where species are likely to occur are useful for guiding searches, and may reduce the costs and increase the success of eradication operations. Such maps are based on models that explore the links between plant distributions and climatic factors in order to predict where the plants might occur.

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