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™.