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Front cover - Invaded: the Biological Invasion of South Africa

C·I·B associate and award-winning environmental journalist, Leonie Joubert, has won her second Honorary Mention at the Sunday Times Literary Awards for her book, Invaded: the Biological Invasion of South Africa. The Honorary Mention was made during the announcement of the shortlist for the awards on 3 June 2010 in Johannesburg.

The Sunday Times Literary Awards have been awarded annually since 1989 for meritorious works of non-fiction. In addition to the awards Honorary Mentions are presented to writers whose works the judges felt is important and moving, but which donít quite fit into the category of the awards shortlisted. Sponsored by the Sunday Times, recipients represent the cream of South African writers whose works are judged on the basis of compassion, elegance of writing, illumination of truthfulness, and intellectual and moral integrity. This year marked the 22nd year of the awards and it was during this event that Joubert was rewarded for her acclaimed book.

Working in close partnership with the Centre for Invasion Biology (C·I·B), Invaded explores plants and animals that have traversed the borders and boundaries of their natural habitats and made their way into South Africa, mostly in the last 350 years. Unhindered by predators and diseases which once kept their populations in check, many have come to outnumber and out-compete the species they encounter in their adopted habitats. Invaded provides an overview of the different species that have arrived in South Africa, and the threats they pose. Ultimately, the book attempts to quantify how these species have changed ecosystems, altered the natural environment, and threatened the future of the indigenous plants and animals.

While detailed and scientifically sound, Invaded is a book that encourages its readers to continue with efforts to contain and manage invasive alien species.

Judges applauded the book as much for its impressive presentation as for its message. It was described as “Ö a compelling and important look at the environmental challenges facing the country”. One judge, Thengani Ngwenya, described the book as “fantastic”.

In May 2007 Leonie's first book, Scorched: South Africa's Changing Climate, also received an Honorary Mention by the judging panel of the Sunday Times Alan Paton Literary Awards. More recently, Joubert was awarded the SAB Environmental Journalist of the Year in 2009.

Another publication by Joubert is the outstanding Boiling Point: People in a Changing Climate. She was the Ruth First Fellow in 2007, and was listed in the Mail & Guardianís 200 Young South Africans You Must Take To Lunch (2008).

Invaded: the Biological Invasion of South Africa is available from Wits University Press