Pakistan’s papaya pest squished through biocontrol

Papaya farmers

Copyright: G.M.B. Akash / Pano

 

A severe infestation of the papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) nearly wiped out papaya orchards in Pakistan before this largely farming South Asian country decided to replace conventional chemical pesticides that were ineffective, with natural predators that proved to be successful.  Read more of this post

Alien hunters in Indonesia – protecting natural parks and forest ecosystems in SE Asia

The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) posted four blogs about CABI’s activities in its ‘Partner Spotlight’ feature. One of these was on a four-year Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project that we led which ended recently. The FORIS project was about preserving important genetic diversity in some of SE Asia’s forests. The blog is re-posted here.

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Invasive species – telling the story of the hidden threat to livelihoods

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The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) has blogged about CABI’s activities in its ‘Partner Spotlight’ feature (12-15). One of these was our new invasive species programme which is re-posted here.

Millions of people living in rural communities around the world face problems with invasive species –animals, diseases, insects and plants – that are out of control and have resulted in damage costing more than an estimated US $1.4 trillion globally (Pimentel et al 2001). Yet, while we may have heard about the threats of losing biodiversity, some may have never considered how the addition of a species could be a detriment to agriculture and farmers. Read more of this post

CABI’s ISC datasheets contribute to regulatory action against high-risk freshwater invasive species in the USA

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Rutilus rutilus (roach); adult fish on display. Subaqueous Vltava, Prague Czech Republic. April, 2011
(Copyright: released into the public Domain by Larel Jakubec/Prague, Czech Republic)

Aquatic invasive species threaten aquatic resources by negatively impacting native organisms and altering ecosystems. They have a competitive advantage over native species because they lack natural enemies to control their spread, they grow and reproduce rapidly, and also adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions.

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Invasive alien species (IAS) threaten livelihoods and biodiversity globally

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Invasions from non-native plants, animals and pathogens threaten the economies of the world’s poorest nations, according to a new study.

The study, published in Nature Communications (‘Global threats from invasive alien species in the twenty-first century and national response capacities’) found that one-sixth of the world’s land is highly vulnerable to invasion, including substantial areas in developing countries and global biodiversity hotspots.

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CABI at EcoSummit 2016

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CABI promoted its new invasive species initiative at this year’s EcoSummit event which took place in Montpellier, France, from 29 August – 1 September. CABI’s latest initiative aims to tackle the issue of invasive species to improve the lives of 50 million farmers in Africa and Asia.

Launched in Copenhagen in 1996, the event provides a platform for ecological scientists and researchers from around the world to share new knowledge and discuss sustainable solutions to global environmental and ecological challenges. This year’s EcoSummit conference focused on terrestrial ecosystems, especially fragile systems that are less resilient to climate change and the impact that human activities are having on the environment – especially agriculture. The increasing global demand for food was also discussed and how intensified agriculture to meet this demand can adversely affect ecosystems.

CABI’s work on invasive species was highly relevant here as many invasive species cause the loss of natural biodiversity and alter global ecosystems. CABI’s expertise in tackling invasive species in order to promote environmental sustainability, livelihoods and food security is a significant contribution to solving global environmental challenges.

Julien Lamontagne-Godwin was one of CABI’s representatives at the conference. He said: “This conference is vital to showcase the myriad avenues of research in ecology, and is a vital tool to describe and remind us of the importance of a healthy ecosystem for our way of life. Many discussions we had with top scientists here highlighted the value of CABI’s knowledge platforms, such as our Invasive Species Compendium. These conversations also helped us add depth and significance to our new livelihoods initiative on invasive species.”

CABI has been working on invasive species for over 100 years, exploring measures to prevent, mitigate and manage invasive species on a global level. Through a selection of different sustainable techniques such as biological control, CABI tackles some of the worst invasive species that negatively impact terrestrial ecosystems and impact the livelihoods of farmers who depend directly on the ecosystem for their sustenance.

New European Union IAS Regulation

 

Hydrocotyle ranunculoides

Floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides): on the EU species of Union concern list and a target for biocontrol (Credit: Kate Constantine, CABI)

Invasive alien species are a major threat worldwide, impacting upon millions of livelihoods and threatening biodiversity. The situation is worsening, due in no small part to increased global trade and transport. The economic costs of IAS can be vast: worldwide, invasive species are estimated to cost US$1.4 trillion per year – close to 5% of global GDP.

In the European Union alone, invasive alien species (IAS) are estimated to cost €12-20 billion a year.

In response to this threat, the European Union adopted Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 which makes compulsory the management of key IAS that are of concern to the region. Methods include limitation of spread, eradication of early invasions and active management of established IAS. A list of 37 species to be included under the regulation was approved by EU Member States in December 2015 and has recently come into force (Regulation (EU) 2016/1141). It includes 23 animals and 14 plants whose current and potential impacts across the region will mean that collaborative and concerted action is required across the EU.

This is part of the EU’s biodiversity strategy which aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020 and is in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Aichi Targets, particularly Target 9:

“By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment.”

At CABI, we have been working on invasive species at a global scale for decades and are experts in their management using both traditional methods and through biological control. This new legislation is welcome; recognising the serious threats that invasive species pose and imposing compulsory measures to lessen the spread and impacts of IAS in the EU.