Ryan Blanchard

Current research

My previous research has been predominantly focused on invasive alien plants and restoration practises in riparian areas of the fynbos biome in South Africa. My interests in invasion and restoration ecology were stimulated by the many field visits during my Masters degree. The challenges of balancing the benefits and costs of introducing invasive alien plants has also become of interest.

Field work along West Coast

For this reason my current project is focused on the role that biofuels will contribute to changes in biodiversity as well facilitating the introduction of numerous potentially invasive plant species. I am currently in the second year of my PhD. My research looks to test methodologies for determining biodiversity impacts of extensive biofuel plantations, with particular focus on Jatropha curcas as a case study species. Biofuels have the ability to increase the area under agriculture and drive large scale land use changes across the country. It is therefore important to provide some indication to the environmental threats that might be expected from biofuel plantations and possible mitigation strategies for avoidance. Furthermore, the current species choice of many biofuel candidates include some of the most invasive plants listed and many others share similar traits. This is of particular concern especially if plants are to be grown in large scale plantations to meet the expected demand for alternate energy products.

Previous research

Peer reviewed publications