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Risk assessment under the spotlight at C·I·B workshop

The Centre for Invasion Biology (C·I·B) hosted a workshop on “Rapid response, early detection, and risk assessment of invasive alien species” at the Wallenberg Centre in Stellenbosch from 6 7 August 2012. The meeting brought together researchers and practitioners from around the world to discuss important aspects of risk assessment and its role in different facets of the management of invasive alien species.

The workshop explored recent developments in this field and deliberated issues relating to the increasing adoption of formal risk assessments in a range of initiatives for managing biological invasions.

The 20 participants included C·I·B staff, core team members and post-docs, international experts (Prof. Jaimie Dick from Queen's University, Belfast; Prof. Hugh MacIsaac from the University of Windsor in Canada; Dr Joanne Potts from the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis at the University of Melbourne, Australia; and Prof. Anthony Ricciardi from McGill University in Canada) and representatives of the C·I·Bs partner organisations (Cape Nature, SA National Parks, South African National Biodiversity Institute) and the National Department of Agriculture.

The workshop addressed four main themes: Challenges relating to risk assessment for plant and animal invasions; the knowledge base for invasions in freshwater, marine and terrestrial biomes; the behavioural ecology of alien species as input to predictive tools in risk assessments; and the multiple dimensions of early detection and rapid response. Slots for each theme involved one or more presentations on the state of knowledge and the key challenges, and facilitated discussions.

In summarizing the outcomes of the workshop, C·I·B Director Dave Richardson said “Formal risk assessment protocols are applied in national legislation for dealing with invasive species in many parts of the world. As such, they form a vital link between science and the implementation of research outputs. A major challenge is to ensure that all facets of our research as invasion ecologists are accurately represented in risk assessment frameworks. This workshop was an important step in this direction. The meeting is part of the C·I·Bs commitment to engaging with priorities identified by our partners and to forging strong relationships with leading researchers from around the world”. Outcomes from the workshop will include a series of multi-authored papers and new collaborations.

For further information, contact Prof. Dave Richardson rich@sun.ac.za

Workshop participants

Participants at the C·I·B-hosted workshop on “Rapid response, early detection, and risk assessment of invasive alien species”.