Stakeholder engagement in the study and management of invasive alien species

Ross T. Shackleton*, Tim Adriaens, Giuseppe Brundu, Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz, Rodrigo A. Estévez, Jana Fried, Brendon M.H. Larson, Shuang Liu, Elizabete Marchante, Hélia Marchante, Moleseng C. Moshobane, Ana Novoa, Mark Reed, David M. Richardson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Citations (Scopus)


Invasive alien species are a major driver of global environmental change and a range of management interventions are needed to manage their effects on biodiversity, ecosystem services, human well-being and local livelihoods. Stakeholder engagement is widely advocated to integrate diverse knowledge and perspectives in the management of invasive species and to deal with potential conflicts of interest. We reviewed the literature in the ISI Web of Science on stakeholder engagement (the process of involving stakeholders (actors) in decision making, management actions and knowledge creation) in invasion science to assess and understand what has been done (looking at approaches and methodologies used, stakeholders involved, and outcomes from engagement) and to make recommendations for future work. Research on stakeholder engagement in invasion science has increased over the last decade, helping to improve scientific knowledge and contributing towards policy formulation and co-implementation of management. However, many challenges remain and engagement could be made more effective. For example, most studies engage only one stakeholder group passively using questionnaires, primarily for assessing local knowledge and perceptions. Although useful for management and policy planning, these stakeholders are not active participants and there is no two-way flow of knowledge. To make stakeholder involvement more useful, we encourage more integrative and collaborative engagement to (1) improve co-design, co-creation and co-implementation of research and management actions; (2) promote social learning and provide feedback to stakeholders; (3) enhance collaboration and partnerships beyond the natural sciences and academia (interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration); and (4) discuss some practical and policy suggestions for improving stakeholder engagement in invasion science research and management. This will help facilitate different stakeholders to work better together, allowing problems associated with biological invasions to be tackled more holistically and successfully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-101
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date1 Aug 2018
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
RTS, AN and DMR acknowledges funding from the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (C∙I∙B) and RTS acknowledges Stellenbosch University through “Consolidoc” funding of the office of the Vice Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies and a grant (to BL) from the Social Sciences and Humanities research Council of Canada (SSHRC) which helped to make this research possible. DMR received funding from the C∙I∙B and the National Research Foundation of South Africa (grant 85417 ). AN acknowledges funding from the Centre of Excellence PLADIAS (Czech Science Foundation Project No. 14-36079G ) and the long-term research development project ( The Czech Academy of Sciences , Project No. RVO 67985939 ) and South African National Department of Environment Affairs through its funding of the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s Invasive Species Programme .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Biological invasions
  • Collaboration
  • Environmental management
  • Global review
  • Human dimensions
  • Natural resource management
  • Participation
  • Social-ecological systems


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