While all stakeholders are important in projects, communities play a very central and unique role. A successful project is a collaborative affair with widespread support and involvement from the local community.
Community involvement is important.
To align project objectives with community priorities: It is the community that is most directly affected by changes to the environment. With the community’s close connection to the land they will be major beneficiaries of the project. Likewise, the local community will also feel any adverse side-effects of the project. The project team needs to work closely and collaboratively with the community throughout the project. It is never too early to be engaging the community on an invasive plant management project.
For Biosecurity actions: Strong community participation and support is essential in implementing an effective Biosecurity Plan to prevent invasions of the target, or other, invasive species. The community will make up a large (if not majority) proportion of travelers to the project site. As such they are a major invasive species pathway. The community will need to embrace the Biosecurity Plan and adhere to the prevention techniques when travelling to the project site if the biosecurity is to be successful.
As a source of local information: The community can provide essential information about the project site that will help the team plan the project. Much of this information will be collected during the Feasibility Study stage site visit.
As participants: Local communities may be able to actively participate in the project and provide manpower and resources to the project team. As well as providing manpower, this creates opportunities for communities to up-skill in invasive plant management techniques.