Weeds are amongst the most important invasive species in the Asia-Pacific region. In a recent survey by the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network (APFISN) of its members, weeds were ranked as the most impactful forest invasive species in the region, especially across countries in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and South Asia. One of the most effective and sustainable management methods for invasive weeds is biological control, using natural enemies of a weed from its native range to control it in the invaded range. This webinar will introduce the concept of weed biocontrol generally, the process of host-specificity testing, biocontrol control successes, opportunities, and emerging invasive weed issues in the South and Southeast Asian regions.
The webinar targets participants in SE Asia and South Asia and will run over consecutive days for two hours each day. Webinars targeting other regions (e.g. the Pacific) will be held in 2023.
Time will be available to ask questions and for discussion on each day. We look forward to seeing you online on the 24th and 25th of November 2022!
Time: UTC 05.00. Other indicative times: Mumbai 10:30/Karachi 10:00/Bangkok 12:00/Brisbane 15:00
The webinars are free and you can register for each day at the links below:
24th November 2022 – Click here
25th November 2022 – Click here
For a flyer with agenda, click here
Places are limited to 300 participants, so register early!
See you then!
For invasive species leaving their home, they leave not only their predators but also the species that helped them thrive.
Arriving to a new range or location, invasive species lose not only their enemies but also their friends—those relationships that benefit colonization.
Read more here
Economic growth and globalization have connected the world’s most distant places. Rapid trade and transport have boosted economic growth globally, but not without consequences: many species have been introduced to new regions, far from where they evolved.
Alien species are those introduced by humans to regions outside their natural range. Invasive alien species are a growing concern for both the environment and economy.
In recent decades, alien herpetofauna — amphibians and reptiles — have increasingly gained attention on social media, with more information being circulated about the impacts these species have on native flora and fauna.
And yet, the number of invasive reptiles and amphibians is increasing, facilitated by the persistently high globalization of human activities.
Read more here
The 19th meeting of the International Forestry Quarantine Research Group (IFQRG) will be held as a virtual symposium on four consecutive Fridays starting September 2, 2022 (skipping Sept 23 because of a conflict with the first International Plant Health Conference). Each day there will be four to six ~15 minute presentations. A five-minute question period will follow each presentation. Each day will close with a discussion session on the day’s topics for approximately one hour.
The symposium will include the following topics:
Molecular tools – detection, diagnostics and enhancing international collaboration
Pest moving on forest products & the risks associated with forest pest establishment in novel environments – incursion versus establishment
Surveillance tools for forest pests – development of new lures and new technology Development of guidance for ISPMs related to forestry
The Symposium will be hosted on the Zoom platform by coordinator Kelli Hoover, Penn State University, USA.
See here for more information (second announcement)
To register, please email IFQRG Secretary Meghan Noseworthy: email@example.com
1. Developing a Biosecurity Directional Framework – A NZ Experience. Peter Thomson, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand
2. Shared responsibility in Australian Biosecurity – An overview. Russel Warman, University of Tasmania, Australia
3. An Industry Perspective on Biosecurity – Patricia Machado, Ibá, Brazil
4. Perspectives on Biosecurity in Ghana’s Forests – Paul Bosu, CSIR, Ghana
5. IPPC and Biosecurity – Camilo Beltran Montoya, IPPC
6. Roadmap for a global framework on Forest Biosecurity – Shiroma Sathyapala, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
The video of the Side Event can also be accessed here
Forest biosecurity as a shared responsibility – towards a global framework
XV World Forestry Congress Side event – Held on 5 May 2022
Global travel and trade have facilitated the movement of invasive species around the world and protecting forests from these threats is paramount. It is a global issue that requires national, regional, and global cooperation and action. FAO, together with partners, aims to develop and implement a framework targeting policy makers and regulators to develop national strategies to increase awareness and engage all stakeholders in forest biosecurity. At the XIV World Forest Congress side-event, speakers from around the globe shared their perspectives on the current situation of forest biosecurity and the need for a global framework followed by a panel discussion on the global framework’s development.
Click here to view a recording of the Side Event !
As many as 10 invasive alien species (IAS), out of 330 that are known to be invasive in India, have cost the economy $127.3 billion (Rs. 8.3 trillion) in the last 60 years, according to a recent analysis that points to glaring knowledge gaps in costs incurred by these species to the Indian economy.
As many as 330 species are declared invasive out of more than 2,000 alien species in India and the costs of $127.3 billion as documented in the study comes from only 10 of these 330 species, making India the second topmost invasion-cost bearing country after the United States. These costs are likely to be a “gross underrepresentation” of the actual costs based on the authors’ global analysis of 112 countries.
“The negative economic impacts are documented and available only for 3% of the known invasive species and unavailable/masked/underrepresented for the rest 97% of invasive species in India. That’s a huge knowledge gap,” evolutionary biologist and study lead author Alok Bang told Mongabay-India. For comparison, the annual budget of India’s environment ministry is currently $0.4 billion.
Read more here
In partnership with FAO, the USDA Forest Service, AFoCO and the regional Forest Invasive Species networks, APFISN is a co-organiser of a Side Event at the upcoming World Forestry Congress to be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea from 1-6 May 2022.
The theme of the Side Event is “Forest Biosecurity as a Shared Responsibility – Towards A Global Framework”.
The Side Event will take place from 10.00 to 11.30 am (Korea Standard Time) on Thursday 5 May.
To register to join the Side Event online please click here.
More details can be downloaded in the official flyer here
The Congress is being held as a hybrid event and the Side Event will also be held in person and virtually.
Early-bird registration for the Congress is available until 15 April. See here for more details
Covid-19 Travel advice for the Congress is available here
We look forward to seeing you in Seoul soon!
In recent decades, Portugal has been negatively affected by a growing invasion of exotic forest species adapted to fire-prone regimes, changing native ecosystems and contributing to the loss of biodiversity.
Many forest ecosystems worldwide are under threat after the invasion of exotic invasive plant species and Portugal is no exception. One of the most aggressive invaders in Portugal are the species of the genus Acacia, negatively affecting the ecosystem functioning, as well as changing the wildfire regime. Moreover, invasive alien species are one of the main causes of biodiversity loss.
Over the centuries, these plants have been introduced for a variety of purposes, such as timber production, landscape restoration or ornamental use. According to the most recent forestry inventory, around 20 thousand hectares of Portuguese areas is currently occupied by acacias.
The management of these invaded ecosystems is becoming an increasingly complex problem. Based on recent research, it has been recognised that the eradication of invasive species alone is a utopic activity, insufficient to restore affected ecosystems. In this way, strategies and control methods applied in these territories, as well as the duration of their application, are increasingly seen as vital to the solution of this problem. However, implementing effective control strategies is also a challenge.
Read more here
Often considered a gardener’s best friend, earthworms are harming native species in forests where they don’t belong.
In the past five years, reports of staggering insect declines have stoked anxiety and debate concerning the fate of the “little things that run the world,” as the late biologist E. O. Wilson once called them. As for the how and why of these declines, the prime culprits are habitat destruction, rampant use of pesticides, and climate change.
But new research published March 30 in Biology Letters adds an unexpected suspect, at least for a large swath of North America: the earthworm. The study looked at 60 plots in an aspen and poplar forest in Alberta, Canada, and found that as the numbers of earthworms wriggling in the soil and leaf litter increased, the diversity and abundance of invertebrates aboveground decreased.
These results might sound surprising, since earthworms are widely considered to be helpful garden residents. Worms earned their reputation by aerating and mixing soil with their burrows and releasing locked up nutrients in their castings, all of which can help certain plants thrive. But this new study is part of a growing body of research suggesting that at least in the forests of northern North America, earthworms may not be the slimy angels of the underworld we tend to think they are.
Read more here
Invasive alien forest insects will kill 2.1-2.5 per cent of all street trees (1.4 million) in the United States in 30 years (2020-2050). This loss would cost $30 million annually to manage, a recent study has said.
Most of this damage (95 per cent) would be caused in 23 per cent of America’s urban areas, the study added.
Ninety per cent of all mortality would be due to the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). The insect is expected to kill almost all the ash trees in 6,000 US urban settings, the study said.
The emerald ash borer will impact an area of 902,500 square kilometres, mostly in the southern and central US. These areas would witness the destruction of 98.8 per cent of all ash trees.
The researchers, led by Emma J Hudgins from McGill University, Canada, termed Milwaukee, Chicago and New York City as the ‘mortality hotspot cities’.
Maple and oak trees would face the threat of Asian wood borers in the future, costing $4.9 billion over 30 years.
The study, the researchers said, was the first spatial forecast of urban tree mortality due to invasive insect pests done in the US and identified dominant insect pests and spatial impact hotspots.
Emerald ash borer beetles are invasive insects first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and most likely brought over on packing material from East Asia.
Read more here
A new project calling upon everyone to participate in ‘early warning systems’ for invasive species in the Pacific islands was launched on August 27 2021.
iNaturalist is a social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe. It is a free tool and can be used by anyone, anywhere.
Niue, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Tonga and Tuvalu are four Pacific islands now using iNaturalist which is available as part of the GEF 6 Regional Invasives Project (GEF6 RIP). To help track priority invasive species that threaten Pacific Island biodiversity, GEF 6 RIP developed the initiative which records findings of biodiversity and invasive species observations by local residents and visitors.
“We are excited to launch the iNaturalist projects in Niue, RMI, Tonga, and Tuvalu and get communities involved in the monitoring and management of invasive species and biodiversity more broadly,” said Bradley Myer, Project Manager GEF 6 RIP at SPREP.
LDD moth caterpillar. Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
Invasive Species Awareness Week is a social media campaign to raise awareness about invasive species and the protection of Canada’s natural species.
It coincides with, and was inspired by the American National Invasive Species Awareness Week, which runs from Feb. 28 to March 4.
For more information, and how to get involved, please see the press release included below
Invasive Species Awareness Week (ISAW) is a collaborative social media campaign focused on raising awareness about invasive species and how to protect Canada’s natural spaces. ISAW is inspired by the ‘National Invasive Species Awareness Week’ in the United States, with Canada sharing the same dates as the U.S. campaign. For many years, the Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network, Forests Ontario, Invading Species Awareness Program, Invasive Species Centre, and the Ontario Invasive Plant Council have partnered to develop ISAW campaign resource materials for Ontario and Canada that have been used by dozens of organizations across the country.
Invasive Species Awareness Week takes place Feb. 28 – March 4, 2022, using the hashtag #InvSpWk.
Read more here
With alien invasive species fast changing the landscape and vegetation of Kerala, scientists at Kearla forest research institute (KFRI) are proposing a concept of ‘invasive-free’ campuses for institutions in the State.
Read more here
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat is soliciting:
Nominations for appropriately qualified experts to develop a Manual which will outline specific technical requirements and provide guidance for applying and verifying ISPM 15 fumigation treatments, both methyl bromide (MB) and sulfuryl fluoride (SF).
Deadline: Nominations are due 24 September 2021 .
Read more here
Please join us for the International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species, ICAIS 2022, to be held April 18-22, 2022 in Oostende, Belgium. The conference is co-hosted by the Netherland’s Office for Risk Assessment & Research (NVWA/BuRO) and Belgium’s Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), with the support of Canada’s Invasive Species Centre, the ICAIS Secretariat.
ICAIS 2022 will be a hybrid event with in-person aspects held at the Thermae Palace Hotel, Oostende, Belgium and virtual aspects live online through an integration platform. See you there or virtually online!
Get more information here
Invasive species can wreak havoc on local ecosystems. Cleaning up that biological wreckage comes at a big price.
These invaders, often thrust into new environments unintentionally (or intentionally, to combat pests) by humans, can transmit new diseases, devastate crops and eat away at crucial infrastructure. From 1970 to 2017, such invasions cost the global economy at least $1.28 trillion in damages and in efforts to control them, researchers report March 31 in Nature. As the globe becomes increasingly interconnected and invasive species take over new habitats, that cost grows.
Click here to read more
A team of scientists from CABI centres in Africa and Europe conducted an in-depth literature review and online survey as part of the first comprehensive study on the annual cost of invasive alien species on Africa’s agricultural sector. The study estimates that annually invasive alien species cost Africa USD 3.66 trillion, 92% of which can be attributed to the labour costs of weeding invasive alien species.
Smallholders are largely poor and food insecure and hand weeding is still the only weed control option open to most. This method of weed management is physically demanding and time consuming. The total cost of weeding invasive alien plants, which often comprise more than half of the weeds in arable fields, is huge. The CABI scientists put a monetary value on the weeding labour for the entire African continent. This was based on a review of existing literature, which revealed weeding in crop types can take 50-92 person days per hectare.
Click here to read more
Coconut rhinoceros beetle
A destructive pest beetle is edging closer to Australia as biological controls fail, destroying home gardens, plantations and biodiversity as they surge through nearby Pacific islands.
University of Queensland researcher Dr Kayvan Etebari has been studying how palm-loving coconut rhinoceros beetles have been accelerating their invasion.
“We thought we’d outsmarted them,” Dr Etebari said.
“In the 1970s, scientists from Australia and elsewhere found that coconut rhinoceros beetles could be controlled with a beetle virus from Malaysia.
“This virus stopped the beetle in its tracks and, for the last 50 years or so, it more-or-less stayed put – that is, until now.
“It seems that they are now unshackled from the virus in some places and could be in Australia before we know it.”
In the last few years, the pest has spread to many South Pacific islands, including islands in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, causing severe agricultural and economic damage.
Read more here
Invasive Alien Species: Observations and Issues from Around the World
Invasive alien species are spreading into new ecosystems each year. The impacts caused by these invaders can be swift and devastating. The topic of invasive alien species is large, complex, and globally significant at various scales, exacerbated by the globalization of world economies and increased trade and commerce that has overcome natural barriers to species movement. Invasive alien species threaten global food supplies, water quality and availability, and energy production and delivery. With the added risks associated with global climate change, the global homogenization of plants, animals, and microbes is a major factor in the decline in ecosystem health and ecosystem services worldwide. To counter this trend, there is a critical need to unify governments, cultures, and programs to improve cross-boundary coordination to effectively address the wide range of invasive alien species threats to the environment, economies, and to plant and animal health; particularly human health.
This 4-volume work is the first to compile a set of useful material for key topics, to provide a better understanding of the overall global threat of invasive alien species and the diverse array of problems faced around the world, and assemble material that includes potential replicable solutions to overcome these threats. The books also highlight the threat posed by invasive alien species in terms of a global ‘call to action’. Since invasive species know no boundaries, it is our hope that by compiling material from different scientific and social perspectives around the world, and sharing knowledge and examples of a diverse array of associated topics, we can advance global awareness and improve unified national responses to the threat posed by invasive alien species.
More information here
Photo contest: Celebrate a tree that supports your well-being!
Healthy trees and forests mean healthy people. Forests provide health benefits for everyone on the planet, from fresh air and nutritious foods and ingredients for medicine to clean water and space for recreation.
To celebrate the International Day of Forests on 21 March and this year’s theme, Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being, we’re asking you to take photos of the closest tree to your home that makes you feel better. It can be any tree that you feel adds to your wellbeing: perhaps It bears delicious fruit, or it has bark or leaves that can be used in a traditional remedy, or maybe it’s a tree you like to climb or that simply cheers you up with its colourful leaves or blossoms.
Read more here
The fungal disease has been spreading rapidly across the country since it was first identified in 2017, attacking plants in the myrtle family including pōhutukawa, rātā, mānuka and feijoa.
Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research said dead trees were first observed this spring by Graeme Atkins, a local who has worked for the Department of Conservation for 26 years. Atkins detected infection on several species, although ramarama (Lophomyrtus bullata) and rohutu (Lophomyrtus obcordata) have been hardest hit in the East Cape.
An APFISN DGroup has been created to facilitate communication within the network, allowing the participants to subscribe and share their experiences, questions and activities within a network of experts. As a discussion platform, the APFISN DGroup enables easy interaction across country and regional boundaries and between researchers, practitioners, administrators and others working with or interested in forest pests and their management.
To join the Dgroup and contribute to the discussion, please click here!
This special issue of Management of Biological Invasions are the proceedings of the international conference “Detection and control of forest invasive alien species in a dynamic world” held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, September 25th–29th, 2019 organized by the project LIFE ARTEMIS (LIFE15 GIE/SI/000770). Partners in the project LIFE ARTEMIS are Slovenian Forestry Institute, Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation, Slovenia Forest Service and Zavod Symbiosis. LIFE ARTEMIS is co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of the LIFE financial instrument, Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia, the City of Ljubljana and the Slovenian Research Agency.
All articles are Open Access
New method tests for harmful species like the Asian gypsy moth and sudden oak death pathogen
Asian gypsy moths feed on a wide range of important plants and trees. White pine blister rust can kill young trees in only a couple of years. But it’s not always easy to detect the presence of these destructive species just by looking at spots and bumps on a tree, or on the exterior of a cargo ship.
Now a new rapid DNA detection method developed at the University of British Columbia can identify these pests and pathogens in less than two hours, without using complicated processes or chemicals – a substantial time savings compared to the several days it currently takes to send samples to a lab for testing.
Invasive plants are everywhere – not just in our domestic gardens but on a grander scale on the grasslands of Kenya and Ethiopia as well as the Great Plains in the United States and Canada, including the world-famous Rocky Mountains.
However, far from deserving a starring role in the latest Western movie, these ‘band’ of invasive species are a classic case of ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ that would even leave Clint Eastwood himself drifting off into the sunset in disgust.
(From Marler et al. 2020 – Burrowing activity of coconut rhinoceros beetle on Guam cycads)
Researchers at the Western Pacific Tropical Research Center at the University of Guam have documented what biologists call a “host shift” of the coconut rhinoceros beetle in Guam. The beetle, first documented as an invasive species in Guam in 2007, has been devastating the island’s ubiquitous coconut palms and is now also burrowing into Guam’s endangered native cycad tree, Cycas micronesica. The results were published in June in Volume 13 of the Communicative & Integrative Biology journal.
Read more here
A new plant health laboratory is supporting the Fijian agriculture sector to protect regional food security against the rising threat of pests and diseases.
Located within the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Narere campus, the new facility is the first of its kind for the region and was built with financial support from ACIAR.
Designed to bolster regional capacity, the plant health laboratory enables SPC scientists to study various pests and diseases requiring a high level of biosecurity containment, such as insects, fungi, viruses, and bacteria.
Read more here
Image By Walthery – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82863724
In mid-July, Reddit user erako shared a photo of some exotic-looking insects, curious as to what they were.
The insects seemed out of place for Mississauga, Ont. — they were bright red, covered with black bands and spangled with white stars.
The original poster couldn’t have anticipated the panicked messages and emergency emails that would ripple out across the internet and through multiple Canadian government agencies in response.
Read more here
Kiwi scientists are racing to conserve trees and shrubs that may become extinct because of myrtle rust.
“A strong message we received from colleagues in Australia is seed bank early,” said Karin Van der Walt of Otari Native Botanic Garden in Wellington. “Don’t wait, they said. Because once the [plants] don’t produce seeds, there’s nothing you can do.”
“We are absolutely prioritising getting these species into seed banks,” she said.
The exotic fungus, myrtle rust, was detected in Australia in 2010 and in New Zealand in 2017.
Read more here
Korea is experiencing an insect population boom, which is in part an effect of climate change, environment experts said Wednesday.
A mountain area in Eunpyeong District, western Seoul, has been hit with hordes of stick insects; a species found in abundance in tropical and subtropical climates. The huge number of green and brown insects can be seen over the entire mountain area.
While local volunteers and officials from the local government have come together to solve the problem, news of the growing number of insects has concerned many local hikers who are “bug phobic.”
Insect researcher Kim Tae-woo from the National Institute of Biological Resources said stick insects were not seen here until the 1990s. In 2014, a similar infestation was reported in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province but this is the first case in Seoul.
However, the gypsy moth problem seems bigger.
Read more here
Global trade and monoculture will lead to crop disease pandemics that jeopardise world food systems, experts warn.
A healthy wheat crop in Uganda, just weeks from harvest, turns into a tangle of black stems and shrivelled grains. As much as 80 per cent of the harvest is lost, a fate that destroys the farmer’s investment in the fields and damages the livelihood of the family.
Soon wheat fields in Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt experience the same fate. Iran follows, along with India, Pakistan and Lebanon. Then countries in Asia and Europe show signs.
The culprit is wheat stem rust. A plant disease that has been known for decades, a virulent new strain, Ug99, emerged in 1999 to ravage wheat production across the globe — and was spread by the wind.
Read more here:
For Australia’s native guava, death came in the form of a fungus.
Just 10 years ago, a virulent strain of the fungus Austropuccinia psidii arrived in New South Wales. First observed in Hawaii in 2005, the fungus causes a devastating plant disease called myrtle rust, which has quickly and mysteriously spread around the world—most likely through industrial shipping and other elements of our global economy. Each species that encounters the fungus displays different levels of resistance, but many plants experience deformed leaves, defoliation, stunted growth and even death. The fungus reproduces prodigiously, spewing out trillions of microscopic spores that can easily be carried to new areas by the wind.
Read more here
In a new study, scientists from around the world — including a professor at the University of Rhode Island — warn that the threats posed by invasive alien species are increasing. They say that urgent action is required to prevent, detect and control invaders at both local and global levels.
Alien species are plants, animals and microbes that are introduced by people, accidentally or intentionally, into areas where they do not naturally occur. Many of them thrive, spreading widely with harmful effects on the environment, economy, or human health.
The study, published in the journal Biological Reviews, was carried out by a team of researchers from 13 countries across Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, and North and South America. It states that the number of invasive alien species is increasing rapidly, with more than 18,000 currently listed around the world.
Read more here
Native to China and the Korean Peninsula, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis, has been introduced to North America and Europe. In both its native range and the territory it has invaded, ALB is responsible for the death or removal of millions of urban, roadside, and forest trees. Here, we present the population genetic structure of ALB in South Korea, using 801 bp of mitochondrial DNA and the most comprehensive sampling to date. ALB populations in South Korea are divided into three distinct geographical subgroups: the northeastern natural forest, and the western and southern urban areas. Historical records suggest that the forest-dwelling subgroup is native, as does the moderate genetic diversity of this population. Meanwhile, the fact that ALB was first observed in the western and southern areas only recently, the extreme genetic bottleneck status of these populations, their distribution in large port cities and adjacent areas, and the difference in observed host plants used by the forest subgroup and the urban subgroups suggest that the urban populations are non-native recent invaders. Approximate Bayesian computation suggests that the western and southern subgroups most likely originated from northeastern and northwestern China, respectively. Therefore, our study demonstrates that ALB invasion has occurred even within the species’ native territory. This finding alters our perception of biological invasion by providing a unique example of a species that has invaded its own native range.
Access full paper here
Most of us understand the critical importance of monitoring the spread of diseases. And it is as important for plant diseases as it is for humans.
Plant disease epidemics are often hidden from view, unlike human viral disease outbreaks. Yet food and forest production systems, as well as native environments around the world, are just as threatened by emerging epidemics. That is why the UN has made 2020 the International Year of Plant Health.
It is estimated that pests and pathogens destroy between 10% and 40% of food production globally.
There are ways to deal with this problem, starting with biosecurity and plant health management systems. But this is yet another system that’s been put under tremendous pressure by the emergence of COVID-19. Under restrictions on human movement – necessary to curb the virus’ spread – the field and laboratory work that are crucial for surveillance and management of plant diseases has been severely curtailed.
Read more here
The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment conducted a risk analysis for the release of the rust fungus Puccinia spegazzinii for the biological control of the weed Mikania micrantha.
The final report recommends that the release of P. spegazzinii should be permitted, subject to standard quarantine conditions associated with the import and release of biological control agents, and determined the overall risk associated with the release of P. spegazzinii to be Negligible.
An invasive plant disease may be ready to claim its first victim in the wild with Australia’s native guava now almost extinct, a study has found.
Monitoring of 66 populations of native guava in Queensland and New South Wales has found 23% “could not be located” with another 61% reduced only to root suckers below a dead canopy.
The fungal plant disease myrtle rust was first detected in Australia in 2010, but already has more than 350 known hosts across the country.
Read the full story.
Colonising rail and river banks, wastelands and woodlands, Himalayan balsam was introduced to the British Isles in 1839 by Victorian plant hunters who were keen on its beautiful pink flowers and exploding seed pods. The plant has had plenty of time to establish in the UK and, over the last 50 years, has spread rapidly.
But Himalayan balsam is a problematic plant. It competes with native plants for light, nutrients, pollinators and space, excluding other plants and reducing biodiversity. It dies back in the winter, leaving river banks bare and open to erosion. Dead leaves and plant debris from the weed block waterways and lead to flooding.
From a deadly fungus that showed its face in 1904 on an American chestnut in the Bronx to a nematode recently found to kill American beeches in Ohio, forests in the United States have faced more than 100 years’ worth of attacks from introduced pests and pathogens. But how much of a chunk are these invaders actually taking out of the woods? A new study suggests the impact is severe, accounting for one-quarter of all tree deaths in eastern U.S. forests over the past 3 decades.
The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat is soliciting:
Phytosanitary technical resources and case studies (e.g. manuals, standard operating procedures, advocacy materials, factsheets, infographics, training materials, risk assessments, guidelines, tools)
The IPPC Secretariat periodically issues calls for existing phytosanitary technical resources developed by NPPOs, RPPOs and other organizations that may be shared with the IPPC community. The submitted materials are reviewed by the Implementation and Capacity Development Committee (IC) against established criteria. Suitable materials are made available on the IPP as Contributed Resources (https://www.ippc.int/en/core-activities/capacity-development/guides-and-training-materials/contributed-resource-list/).
The aim of this call is to collect additional resources that may be shared among NPPOs and other stakeholders.
CABI is providing two weeks free access to its Crop Pest Diagnosis online course to encourage knowledge expansion on healthy plants – supporting students and plant health specialists during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Registrants can benefit from the course, which is designed to support extension workers and plant doctors directly, as well as teachers and trainers in agricultural education institutions and the workplace, online or using an app.
Around 40% of crops worldwide are lost to pests – putting the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers and global food security at risk – but CABI is helping to mitigate these challenges through its expertise in plant health and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) using, where possible, more sustainable biological controls.
The Crop Pest Diagnosis course features 15 hours of training across five modules, over 400 knowledge checks and 1,000 images for symptom recognition. The course supports field-based diagnosis using the Diagnostic Field Guide and covers pathogens, pests and nutrient deficiencies. It complements Crop Pest Management of which both interactive courses sit within the CABI Academy.
The number of non-native plant species established outside of cultivation in the New Zealand archipelago is higher than for any other islands worldwide. Faced with this scale of plant invasions, there has been considerable investment in the scientific and operational aspects of prevention, eradication and control. As a result, New Zealand is ideally placed to illustrate the many challenges that plant invasions present worldwide as well as the possible solutions. New Zealand has been at the forefront of biosecurity policy developments to tackle plant invasions being one of the first countries to: (a) implement national legislation to address the management of non-native plants; (b) establish a national permitted list (white-list) for plant imports; and (c) introduce bans on the sale, distribution, or propagation of non-native plant species. However, these preventative measure are only effective where there are also adequate border inspection regimes, compliance monitoring of the horticulture industry, and surveillance of internet trade.
Open access article in Biological Invasions
Insect pests cause billions of dollars in damage each year and they spread numerous dangerous diseases. If professionals attempting to control pest insect species had information about when those species reached the developmental stages at which they are most vulnerable to control measures, management efforts could be more economical, more effective, and less damaging to nontarget species and the environment.
To provide such a resource on a nationwide scale, the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) developed its “Pheno Forecast” maps. The program provides daily maps and forecasts for target pest species that forest managers and integrated pest management professionals can use to optimize their pest-control efforts. The program presently focuses on pests of woody species, but plans are in development to expand the program to include other categories of insects.
Read more here
In the Pacific, ecosystems hang in a delicate balance. The isolation of Pacific islands lends them a natural protection from invasive species that continental ecosystems don’t have. But when an alien species does alight on these remote shores, they can wreak havoc.
Invasive species are the number one cause of extinction of single-country endemic species in the Pacific. 5.8 per cent of the Pacific’s 2,189 single-country endemic species are already extinct. 45 per cent are at immediate risk.
Plants are threatened in a globalised world because people are transporting pests and pathogens around the planet at unprecedented rates. Natural resistance to pests and pathogens has never been more important. In this special issue of Plants, People, Planet we focus on resistance found in tree populations. This has long been a neglected area of research, but one that is ripe for rapid progress using genomic methods.
See this Open Access special issue of Plants, People, Planet as part of the International Year of Plant Health:
Plagues of forest-destroying insects seem to arrive on our shores almost as regularly as ocean waves. Their names – hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, Asian longhorned beetle, spotted lanternfly – only hint at the damage they trigger. The dead trees they leave behind cost billions to remove and add more than 5 million metric tons of carbon annually to the atmosphere, an amount roughly equal to the annual output of 4.4 million cars.
Yet for each major tree killer, around half a dozen foreign insects live quietly in our forests, causing few noticeable problems. A new study may help scientists pick out the future tree killers from the crowd, and it has a surprising conclusion: It’s the characteristics of the trees that insects feed on, not the insects themselves, that matter.
This is a joint meeting of IUFRO units:
7.03.12 – Alien Invasive Species and International Trade
7.03.07 – Population Dynamics of Forest Insects
8.02.04 – Ecology of Alien Invasives
The conference will focus on invasions of non-native insects, tree pathogens, plants and other organisms in forest ecosystems. Topics addressed will include the role of trade and travel as pathways for invasions, the ecology and impact of non-native species in forests as well as the management of invasions and biosecurity.
The conference will be held on the campus of the Czech University of Life Sciences located in Prague and will include a 1-day field trip in addition to contributed and invited scientific presentations.
Registration and submission of abstracts will begin in January.
To receive future mailings about the conference enter your contact info at https://iufro.czu.cz/en/r-15091-info-form
The Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF)’s working group of global experts met at the World Trade Organization’s headquarters from 15 to 17 October 2019 to continue revising the STDF Strategy (2020-2024). They also reviewed grant applications for STDF funding and discussed how to increase the capacity of developing countries to implement international standards. A new video Investing in Safe Trade highlighting the benefits for developing countries of working with the STDF was launched at the meeting. It is available at:
CABI has launched a new product to help facilitate and improve the biosecurity of plants and plant products being traded around the world that are at risk of invasive pests such as the Colorado beetle – a major threat to potato crops.
The Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) Tool is an add-on to the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC) – funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) through the Action on Invasives programme – which allows National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) to carry out risk assessments on plant commodity imports.
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand: It is an insect species almost no one in Singapore has heard of, and it grows to no longer than two inches.
But the fall armyworm is one hungry caterpillar that has devastated cornfields across Asia in a short time, threatening an agricultural disaster.
Corn is found in many things, including animal feed. So a corn shortage could mean higher prices of cereal, toothpaste, chicken and more.
Management of invasive alien species is increasingly challenging mainly because of the failure of past global efforts to slow down the rate of invasion and increasing globalization of trade and transport. Developing countries like Nepal are further constrained due to the lack of adequate scientific knowledge to inform policy and management. This has resulted in weak policy and management responses, thereby exposing the country to a high threat of further invasions. This paper presents a brief review of the diversity, distribution, and impacts of invasive alien plants (IAPs), current management practices and policy responses, and future prospects for their management in Nepal. At least 183 vascular exotic plant species (4 pteridophytes and 179 flowering plants) are naturalized in Nepal, and among these are 26 invasive angiosperm species, including 4 from the list of 100 of the world’s worst invasive species. The IAPs have invaded agroecosystems and the natural environment including protected areas and Ramsar sites from tropical lowland to temperate mountain zones. Impacts of a few IAPs have been examined, and they range from habitat degradation and species displacement to negative impacts on the livelihood of farming communities. Cultural and physical methods are the common control measures adopted, while a few biological control agents have also arrived fortuitously. As a policy response, the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2014 prioritized inventory, impact assessment, identification of dispersal pathways, public education and participation, and biological control programs. Future prospects for the IAPs management in Nepal includes eradication of Myriophyllum aquaticum, prevention of Mikania micranthaand Chromolaena odorata from being spread to western Nepal, inclusion of IAPs management in community forestry programs and conservation management plans of protected areas, invasion risk assessment of species before introduction, government funding for education and research, strengthening biological control programs, and regional collaboration through common management strategies.
A new strain of the beetle, CRB-G, is resistant to traditional control methods, and the government said it could cause $US150 million dollars to be lost from the Pacific’s coconut and palm oil industries every year.
CRB-G is established in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands where it is damaging palm trees.
New Zealand is contributing about $US11 million dollars to the fight, some of which will go to science institute AgResearch.
A new statistical modelling tool will enable land management authorities to predict where invasive weed species are most likely to grow so they can find and eliminate plants before they have time to spread widely.
In the study, published in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution, the researchers developed the tool that uses information about the features of a weed species and the geography of the area in which it has been reported to predict specific locations where the weed is likely to spread to first.
The paper is open access and it and additional information and files are available at:
The tools are available here:
Suitability model: https://jens-g-froese.shinyapps.io/riskmapr_suitability/
Susceptibility model: https://jens-g-froese.shinyapps.io/riskmapr_susceptibility/
Introducing an animal where it doesn’t naturally belong can be a problem too. If invertebrates smuggled into a new country get loose, they, or the parasites they host, can gobble up or otherwise harm native crops, plants, trees, or animals. “When you don’t know what’s coming in, there’s always that little concern,” says Greg Bartman, a U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who identifies insects found in cargo shipments. He points to the Indian walking stick insect as a cautionary tale: He suspects the exotic pet trade brought them to Southern California, where they’re wreaking havoc on hibiscuses, ivy, rosebushes, and other plants. And giant African millipedes (the same species of arthropods that escaped from a package addressed to Wlodzimie Lapkiewicz)? They sometimes carry a mite that can destroy bulb crops such as onions and garlic.
CABI has led an international team of scientists who strongly suggest that the global trade of forest tree seeds is not as safe as previously believed, with insect pests and fungal pathogens posing a great risk to trees and forest ecosystems worldwide.
Non-native insect pests and fungal pathogens present one of the major threats to trees and forest ecosystems globally, with the potential to cause significant ecological changes and economic losses.
Invasions from alien plants, animals, and pathogens threaten the economies of the world’s poorest nations, according to a new study.
One-sixth of the global land surface is highly vulnerable to invasion, including substantial areas in developing countries and biodiversity hotspots, according to the study published in Nature Communications.
FAO and the IPPC Secretariat are calling for inspiring first-hand stories on plant health to promote the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) 2020.
Deadlines of the Call for human-interest stories on plant health have been extended as follows:
• Applicants can send their story proposals by 30 September 2019;
• Finalized stories and images must be sent using the specific template by 15 November 2019 (see IYPH – My Story Annex 1).
The My Story template and all the instructions for submissions are provided at the link below:
In addition to the ecological impact, the devastation invasive pests wreak on trees reduces carbon storage equivalent to the amount of carbon emitted by 5 million vehicles each year.
Invasive insects and pathogens have wreaked havoc on ash, elm, chestnut, and other trees, wiping some almost completely from American forests.
The trees the 15 most invasive pests kill each year contain 5.53 teragrams of carbon (TgC), equivalent to about 6 million US tons.
Plants are going extinct 350 times faster than ever before … and invasive species are one of the key drivers!
Earlier this year a United Nations report predicted that up to one million species and half of all plant life on earth may be extinct by the end of the century. Additionally, a recent study documented that 571 plant species have disappeared over the past 250 years. Now, a new study shows that plants have been lost at a rate that is 350 times greater than the average rate of plant extinctions observed in the fossil record.
As Dutch elm disease spread across Britain in the 1970s, the country fell into mourning. When the sentinel trees that framed our horizons were felled, their loss was a constant topic of sad and angry conversation. Today, just a few years into the equally devastating ash dieback epidemic, and as the first great trees are toppled, most of us appear to have forgotten all about it.
There has been a baffling absence of an international alliance to track and respond to the movement of invasive species. An opinion piece by Buyung Hadi, an Aspen New Voices Fellow, an Indonesian entomologist working on sustainable rice-based crop production. He serves as Cambodian country representative for International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
Vessels & break-bulk cargo can introduce exotic pests & diseases into new areas. @DeptAgNews developed a new video explaining how to manage pests & diseases that may be present in imported goods & containers at approved arrangement sites.
A state of emergency has been declared in Vanuatu not because of a natural disaster or civil unrest, but because of a beetle.
The coconut rhinoceros beetle has the potential to devastate the country’s coconut industry, as well as the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of people who depend upon it.
The pest was first found on the north-west coast of Efate island in May, not far from the capital Port Vila, and has since been found at sites several kilometres away.
From afar, the sight of the green, leafy, free-floating aquatic plants over vast water bodies add aesthetic value to nature’s serenity. However, at a closer look, the fear of the unknown suddenly kicks in. And it is not for a good reason.
What appears to be naturally occurring, the water hyacinth, which is native to tropical and subtropical South America, has broad, thick, glossy, ovate leaves. This pervasive plant can rise above the surface by as much a meter in height.
The CPM-14 agreed to include in its work programme the topic for a CPM Recommendation on “Facilitating safe trade by reducing the incidence of contaminating pests associated with traded goods”.
This topic was proposed by Australia with support from New Zealand as contained in the CPM paper CPM 2019/37.
Experts interested in joining this virtual group to improve the draft text, please send an email to Mr Ian Thompson (Ian.Thompson@agriculture.gov.au) and copy the Secretariat (Adriana.Moreira@fao.org) by 20 May 2019.
Experts should provide (by 20 May 2019):
Short description of skills and/or interest
Whilst prevention is better than a cure, it is not always possible to stop every invasive species from entering an area. In these instances, early detection and rapid response are crucial, as management is much easier while the population of an invasive species remains small. Detection of small populations, however, can be incredibly difficult. With the spread of invasive species becoming an ever increasing problem around the world, it could pay to think outside the box when trying to manage them – could animals help with the fight against invasive species? Researchers and conservationists seem to think so.
Sharp-eyed plant experts tramping in the Tongariro National Park have spotted butterwort – a carnivorous plant that is classed as an invasive weed and poses a danger to native wetland species.
The Department of Conservation says it’s likely that someone passionate about the insect-eating specimen has deliberately introduced it.
Tongariro’s senior ranger for biodiversity, Alison Beath, is asking people to keep an eye out for other incursions and to report them to DoC. They are likely to be in accessible damp areas – where the plants thrive – next to tracks or roads. The plants were spotted last month on the Taranaki Falls Track.
R&D Conference on Invasive Alien Species Management and Biosecurity Measures in the Asia Pacific Region
Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are one of the major threats to biodiversity worldwide and is viewed as cause of extinction of the endemic or native species in a particular country where they have been introduced. These results to a phenomenon called bioinvasion of natural habitats and puts to risk the existence of our indigenous flora and fauna either through competition for food or space. This brings forth an emerging concept called biosecurity which is globally significant because of the risks they pose to the economy, environment and human health.
Numerous international instruments have been developed to address IAS and the most comprehensive is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which calls on parties to prevent the introduction, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species. At present, IAS occurs in different taxonomic groups. Some species have in fact been purposely used for various purposes such as reforestation, food production and biological control of other unwanted organisms and have, to some extent, been part of the country’s natural landscape.
There is, however, a dearth of information in terms of the range of distribution and impacts of many of these IAS in natural ecosystems. Threfore, this conference aims to provide a forum for the exchange of research and development information and technologies on the status, control and management of invasive alien species (IAS) in the Asia-Pacific region.
Expected Outcomes of the conference:
Enhanced R and D partnership and cooperation between and among Asia-Pacific countries including dialogue and development partners particularly in coming up with strategies on sustainable management and/or eradication of invasive alien species;
Institutional and capacity developments to be pursued among Asia-Pacific countries including dialogue and development partners in eliminating risks and negative effects of IAS introduction such as threatened human health and safety, environmental loss and substantial economic damage; and
Improved/strengthened strategies and policies to address issues on IAS which globally is one of the major drivers of biodiversity loss.
Get more information from the conference website here
9th International Workshop on Biological Control and Management of Eupatorieae and other invasive weeds:
This workshop is organized under the auspices of the International Organisation for Biological and Integrated Control (IOBC) and CABI Southeast Asia. The first workshop was held in 1988 to facilitate the management and biological control of Chromolaena odorata in resource-poor tropical and subtropical countries. In 2003, the scope of the workshop was expanded to include closely related species such as Mikania micrantha, while retaining an emphasis on the tropics. Malaysia has been selected as the host country for this 9th workshop, the first to be held in Southeast Asia. The tribe Eupatorieae, which includes Chromolaena odorata and Mikania micrantha are widespread in Southeast Asia and have significant economic impacts on agriculture, the environment and livelihoods. The entire region has been shown to be highly climatically suitable for the weeds. Other species of invasive alien plants for which there are good biological control agents available and which could be included in this workshop if the interest exists, include Salvinia molesta and Pistia stratiotes.
Download Second announcement flyer and registration form here
Workshop website: http://www.iobcinvasiveweeds2019.org
The Pacific Invasive Ant Toolkit is a collection of resources to help prevent and control invasive ants in the Pacific. We call this the PIAT for short.
The PIAT is mostly targeted at helping developing and remote Pacific Nations, who often do not have access to pest control locally and depend on outside help. But anyone is welcome to use it.
We decided that the PIAT was needed as the resources available to deal with invasive ants were in many different places and sometimes hard to find. So some of the resources you will find here have been specifically developed for PIAT, but others are available in other places. We always provide links to the original sources of information.
An international team of scientists, involving entomologists, conservation biologists, agro-ecologists and geographers, has just revealed how on-farm biological control can slow the pace of tropical deforestation and avert biodiversity loss on a macro-scale. The case study concerns biological control of the invasive mealybug Phenacoccus manihoti with the introduced host-specific parasitic wasp Anagyrus lopezi in Southeast Asia.
With the huge volume of international trade, sea containers can become vehicles for plant pests and diseases to spread into new areas. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) has therefore set up a special Sea Containers Task Force (SCTF) to deal with this specific issue. The SCTF’s second meeting recently took place from 5 to 9 November 2018 in Shenzhen, China
The International Year of Plant Health 2020 and the IPPC’s work in protecting plants from invasive alien species were highlighted during a side event at the 2018 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD – COP 14) held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Forests around the world are experiencing invasions of thousands of different non-native species, including nearly every type of plant, animal and other types of organisms. Globalization is the main cause of the biological invasion issue, with increasing trade and travel causing accidental movement of organisms. A variety of methods are available for managing forest invasions, either by preventing the arrival and establishment of new species or by managing established populations. In the future, forests around the world will likely be exposed to increasing numbers of non-native species and effective management requires international cooperation and interdisciplinary integration.
Last week CABI launched the full version of its invasive species Horizon Scanning Tool, a free and open access online resource available via the Invasive Species Compendium that helps users make decisions about invasive species and identify possible risks in countries, provinces and states.
Following beta testing, the tool now includes new features and improvements such as an additional country filter based on trade data, enhanced sharing of horizon scans, improved CSV output and the integration of habitat data into the data sheets.
While people elsewhere in the state will plant millions of tree saplings marking World Environment Day on Tuesday, a group of greens and farmers in Wayanad are set to uproot over one lakh invasive plants that have been posing a threat to the forest ecosystem in the hill district.
Expressing concern over the increase in the import of ornamental fishes to the country, which is posing a threat to India’s native fish populations, the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has urged the government to come up with quarantine facilities at major seaports and airports.
Managing invasive species could benefit 95 per cent of Endangered and Critically Endangered amphibians, birds and mammals that live on islands, according to a study involving researchers from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Invasive Species Specialist Group and IUCN Member Island Conservation, published today in the journal Science Advances.
Restoration projects to remove invasive plants can make a positive impact on native plant species. But a new study featured in the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management shows restoration has an additional benefit. Removal of invasive species growing alongside a stream or river can also improve the biodiversity of aquatic organisms.
As invasive species are threatening ecological habitats throughout the U.S. and Canada, the role of Indigenous nations as environmental stewards has often been overlooked, according to a Dartmouth-led study published in the current issue of American Indian Quarterly.
A new study published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology, and co-authored by several IUCN scientists, identifies priority invasive alien species that require urgent action across the EU and proposes a systematic, proactive approach to select species for risk assessment, in order to assist EU policy implementation.
Armies of microbes that are invisible to the naked eye battle it out to determine whether exotic marine plants successfully invade new territory and replace native species, UNSW Sydney-led research shows.
North America’s most widespread and valuable ash tree species are on the brink of extinction due to an invasive beetle decimating their populations, while the loss of wilderness areas and poaching are contributing to the declining numbers of five African antelope species, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.