Table 6. Emergent themes based on landowner responses to open-ended interview questions regarding (a) landowner and government responsibility for clearing invasive alien plants (IAPs); and (b) the quantity and duration of financial assistance proposed in WfWs approach to clearing IAPs on private land, Western Cape. Only themes showing a significant association with landowner study site or landowner responses to closed-ended questionnaire items are presented (see Table 7).

Emergent Theme Frequency
(n = 113)


Private cost for public benefit


Landowners bear substantial economic costs to remove IAPs, but do not necessarily receive a direct monetary benefit.

Landowners have a duty to steward property


The property belongs to the landowner and he/she has a duty to care for the land.

Neighboring public lands have not been cleared


Where public lands contain IAP infestation, these areas can provide a source of alien seed moving onto bordering private property. The government cannot take responsibility for clearing IAPs on private property, or enforce legal mandates to remove IAPs on private property when adjacent public lands have not been cleared.

The state’s historic role in IAP introduction and spread


Historically, the government played a central role in the introduction and spread of IAPs. Landowners have inherited the IAP problem as a result of past government-supported initiatives.

Government coordination is needed


The spatial and temporal scale of IAP infestations transcends the scope of individual landowners and their property boundaries. Thus, government-led coordination, planning, and commitment will be required to clear IAPs.

Landowners can clear at a lower overall cost


Landowners hold knowledge of local resource dynamics that is superior to that of government. Thus, landowner command of IAP management is the most cost-effective and pragmatic option.

Riverside properties bear unfair costs


Rivers are conduits for IAPs and water is a public good. Private landowners with property alongside rivers bear an unfair share of the cost burden for clearing, without receiving proportional resource benefits.


Ecological unpredictability


Financial incentives should make provision for stochastic or unpredictable ecological change (e.g., unplanned fires, new or emerging IAP species, and variation in IAP response to treatment).

Prefer to work more slowly


Express a preference for clearing IAPs at a slower pace. Concerned about
potential non-target effects of rapid, large-scale clearing on native species, on wildlife habitats or landowner’s ability to utilize the leftover IAP biomass.