The exotic traffic weed Chromolaena odorata is native to South America, but has spread to South Africa where it is classified as one of the country’s most noxious weeds
In the absence of any natural control mechanisms, this plant proliferates in savanna ecosystems, and can be found on &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. Our Phinda Conservation Team has an intensive on-going control programme in place, supported by the on-site research findings of Mathias Fittschen Wessels, MSc (Agriculture).
His scientific study on the role of fire and mechanical clearing in the management of C. odorata, found that:
• The use of a bulldozer for the mechanical clearing of dense stands was effective and that indigenous plants were usually able to recolonise the area naturally after the removal of this invasive species.
• Fire, as a once-off treatment, had a significant long-term effect on these plants, especially in combination with drought conditions.
• In both instances, follow up control is necessary.
For the full thesis conducted by Mathias Fittschen Wessels on the Phinda reserve, click here
Other alien species that are actively managed on the conservancy include the weed Parthenium hysterophorus and Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear)