The review presents success stories of control of salvinia, Salvinia molesta, by its biocontrol weevil, Cyrtobagous salviniae. The tiny salvinia weevil, as it is commonly called, is a prolific breeder with a voracious appetite for Salvinia molesta. It has been known to eat its way through as much as 90 percent of a salvinia infestation. (Photo above courtesy of Dr. C. N. Kurugundla)
No fresh releases of the weevil, which is also a native of South America, were undertaken after mass releases in 1999 and 2000, which established the insect within three years of their introduction, the authors say.
The review also presents the successful eradication of water lettuce, Pistia stratiotes, in the transboundary Kwando River wetlands by 2005. Management of the growth of water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes, from 2012 in the transboundary Limpopo River jointly with neighboring South Africa is also discussed.
The researchers further look at legislation regarding aquatic weeds. The Government of Botswana “regulates the movement and importation of boats and aquatic apparatus to prevent the importation and spread of aquatic weeds” by the strict implementation of “Aquatic Weed (Control) Act -1986,” they say.
Benefits for Tourism, Water Resource and Wildlife
“The efforts made by the department have benefited tourism, water resource use, and wildlife. Partly due to the achievement of aquatic weeds control, the tourism sector is now very stable and contributes [about] 25 percent to the country’s GDP,” the news released adds.
“The authors…suggest that integrating biological and physical control with public awareness campaigns while working with conservation groups and NGOs would provide sustainable development of wetlands for ecological integrity and livelihoods,” the statement concludes.
Reference: Kurugundla. C. N.; et al. (2016). Alien Invasive Aquatic Plant Species in Botswana: Historical Perspective and Management, Open Plant Sci. J., DOI: 10.2174/1874294701609010001
Post prepared from materials provided by Bentham Science Publishing.
The National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project is a multiyear research and conservation effort to document and help protect the Okavango River Basin in Africa. One of the planet’s last wetland wildernesses, the Okavango is home to a wealth of critical wildlife populations. But this vast and untouched ecosystem is threatened. While the delta in Botswana is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the river basin and its water supply, which stretch from Angola through Namibia and into Botswana, remain vulnerable to human interference.
A team of local and international researchers, led by National Geographic Fellow and conservation biologist Steve Boyes, is providing evidence-based science that encourages local governments and communities to protect biodiversity; promote sustainable development; and preserve the rivers, forests, and wetlands that are key to the health of this region and the areas downstream. Over the next year, the team hopes to support the creation of one of the largest wildlife reserves in sub-Saharan Africa, protecting this critical region for generations to come.
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