Cape Town’s EDRR project

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What is EDRR?

Early Detection Rapid Response was initiated by National Resource Management (NRM) programmes (Department of Environmental Affairs). The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) was appointed as the national implementing agent for the EDRR programme and appointed the Invasive Species Unit at City Cape Town to roll out EDRR in the metropol.

The aim of the EDRR programme, with support from various stakeholders, is to identify and remove plant invasions before their populations get out of control. The EDRR programme has four key areas of implementation:

  • Early detection
  • Identification and verification
  • Risk assessment and response planning
  • Rapid response

How is EDRR helping Cape Town?

The Invasive Species Unit deploys rapid response teams to control target species in areas where they are detected. After removing these target plants, the sites are monitored for regrowth and follow up. Monitoring continues until the target species are eradicated from the sites where they occurred.

Cape Town EDRR Spotter Network

To further extend the effectiveness of EDRR, the Cape Town Invasive Species Unit is now appealing to hikers, interested gardeners and the public to help them with early detection of target species. The aim is to develop a voluntary network of ‘spotters and experts’ covering Cape Town and the peninsula and who will upload any sightings of EDRR target species to the newly created Spotter Network website.

You too can be a Spotter!

Sign up and make a difference in your community by reporting any sightings of targeted plants.

Join the Spotter Network

Are you a regular hiker, an interested gardener or simply a concerned member of the public? The Early Detection and Rapid Response programme will be even more effective if you can help them with the early detection of target species.

As many of the target species are to be found in gardens or areas often visited by hikers, friends, gardeners or nature lovers, the general public can play an active part in spotting, reporting or even removing the plants before they become established and start spreading. It is hoped that the public will become the eyes and ears for the rapid response teams on the ground.

The aim is to develop a voluntary network of ‘spotters and experts’ covering Cape Town and the Peninsula and who will upload any sightings of EDRR target species to the newly launched http://edrr.capetowninvasives.org.za website.

How to become a Spotter

Start by signing up to become a Cape Town spotter. It is simple and free. View the target list, read more about the plants, view the most recent spotter updates and track the progress of the removal of the plants on Google Earth maps.

On the city maps, plants are shown as dots in three colours:

Red dots: Designate a confirmed target plant.
Yellow dots: Indicate that control is underway. It remains yellow through the entire control programme to indicate the team responded to the sighting and the plant(s) are now being controlled.
Green dots: Indicate the plant is under control. The locality turns green when the target plants are regarded as under control, with no re-sprouting or reoccurrence. Teams will still monitor the site.

Target species

A list of target species was compiled with input from the National EDRR programme (SANBI) and experts such as Dr Tony Rebelo, who has extensive knowledge of plant invasions especially on and around Table Mountain National Park. The list is not static, but gets updated as information become available. On-going research results in more target species being added to the list, and determining the methods most effective for controlling target species.

Target species are not, as yet, widely established in the Cape metropole. That means that there is still a chance to get the species on the list under control and even remove them completely on certain sites. To get them under control or completely remove them, however, we need to know where they are. This is where spotters have an important role to play.

These targeted species are:

  • Mountain cedar (Acacia elata)
  • Screw pod wattle (Acacia implexa)
  • Kangaroo wattle (Acacia paradoxa)
  • Hop wattle (Acacia stricta)
  • Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima)
  • Balloon vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum)
  • Red valerian (Centranthus ruber)
  • Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)
  • Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster simonsii)
  • Montpellier broom (Genista monspessulana)
  • Sweet hakea (Hakea drupacea)
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
  • Red flowering tea tree (Melaleuca hypericifilia)
  • Australian cheesewood(Pittosporum undulatum)
  • Bloodberry rivinia (Rivina humilis)
  • Spanish broom (Spartium junceum)