Subscribe to MeaseyLab Blog by Email

BDE345 trip to Kleinmond

01 September 2018

Learning about the impacts of aliens on lives

The BDE345 class took a trip to an area near Kleinmond to learn more about invasive plants and the impacts that they have on land and lives. The class spent some time looking at an area of land heavily invaded with Australian myrtle, black wattle, Port Jackson, and silky hakea. During a fifteen minute search in an area of around 10 m2 with botanist Jan-Hendrik Keet, the class found all of these invasive plants, and only 3 native species. The vegetation was around 3 m high and couldn’t have contrasted more intensely with the farm on the other side of the road.


One side of the road looks like this; heavily invaded with plants 3-4 m high.

This property, owned by Craig Saunders, is 455 ha and Craig met with the class and told them frankly about his 4 year and R3.5 million battle to get the aliens under control. When Craig bought the property, there was no difference on either side of the road. Now, they couldn’t be more different, and the same 10 m2 yielded a list of more than 30 native species, several of them endemic to the region.

The other side looks like this after 4 years of clearing work

Craig told the class frankly about how he had underestimated the true cost of the alien invasion, together with lots of practical lessons learned in getting them under control. However, everyone could see how much better the land looked. Although Craig acknowledged that the battle is not over, the annual cost of keeping the aliens under control should fall year on year.


Thanks very much to Craig Saunders for spending his Saturday morning with the class and giving us a great idea about what owning an invaded property means.

Creative Commons Licence
The MeaseyLab Blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.