Original Research

An assessment of the information content of South African alien species databases

Katelyn T. Faulkner, Dian Spear, Mark P. Robertson, Mathieu Rouget, John R.U. Wilson
Bothalia | Vol 45, No 1 | a1103 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/abc.v45i1.1103 | © 2015 Katelyn T. Faulkner, Dian Spear, Mark P. Robertson, Mathieu Rouget, John R.U. Wilson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 October 2014 | Published: 29 May 2015

About the author(s)

Katelyn T. Faulkner, Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, South Africa; Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Dian Spear, Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, South Africa; Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Mark P. Robertson, Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Mathieu Rouget, Centre for Invasion Biology, School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
John R.U. Wilson, Invasive Species Programme, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, South Africa; Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


See Updates


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

National alien species databases indicate the state of a country’s biodiversity and provide useful data for research on invasion biology and the management of invasions. In South Africa there are several different published alien species databases, but these databases were created for different purposes and vary in completeness and information content. We assessed the information content of published South African alien species databases in the context of other such databases globally, and evaluated how the information content of South African databases varies across taxonomic groups. Although introduction pathway, date of introduction, region of origin and current broad-scale distribution data are available for most taxonomic groups assessed (60% – 90%), data on invasion status, introduction effort and introduction source are available for few taxonomic groups (5% – 18%). South African alien species databases have lower information content than the detailed databases available in other parts of the world and thus cannot be utilised to the same extent. We conclude with 11 recommendations for improving South African alien species databases. In particular, we highlight the data types that should be incorporated in future databases and argue that existing data should be collated in a single, standardised meta-database to facilitate cross-taxon comparisons, highlight gaps in effort, and inform managers and policy makers concerned with alien species.

Keywords

biological invasions; introduced species; catalogue; data availability; data gaps; species list

Metrics

Total abstract views: 2820
Total article views: 5120

 

Crossref Citations

1. Understanding and managing the introduction pathways of alien taxa: South Africa as a case study
Katelyn T. Faulkner, Mark P. Robertson, Mathieu Rouget, John R. U. Wilson
Biological Invasions  vol: 18  issue: 1  first page: 73  year: 2016  
doi: 10.1007/s10530-015-0990-4