Highlighting forests’ vulnerability to invasive species

After habitat destruction, invasive alien species are the second biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide. It has a significant impact on livelihoods and the economy, incurring losses of USD$1.4 trillion a year. Prior to 2012 many South-East Asian countries lacked the policies and information on the presence, distribution and impact of invasive species to properly manage this increasingly urgent threat. Continue reading

The locust invasions devastating Niger

locust-invasion-in-niger
Copyright: Panos

It is the end of December 2016, with clear skies over Niger. But as 2017 draws near prospects are grim for some 500 residents in Bani Kosseye, a village 80km from the capital Niamey. Agricultural production has been poor here, and families’ meagre stocks are expected to run out within a few weeks. People already fear famine. Continue reading

Where to find CABI’s open-access information on fall armyworm

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The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is making headlines worldwide for all the wrong reasons. The caterpillar crop pest, native to the Americas, was reported in Africa for the first time last year and is now rapidly marching across the continent. It is a voracious pest of maize and other staple crops and has already destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of farmland. As such, it risks devastating smallholder livelihoods throughout Africa. Given that CABI scientists predict it could reach Europe and Asia in a matter of years, it looks set to quickly become a global problem.

The case for action against fall armyworm is overwhelming. On the ground, CABI will support national extension services to help farmers identify the pest quickly and accurately, contribute to awareness-raising and conduct studies to work out the best ways to control it that are not overly dependent on insecticides. Alongside these efforts, CABI also has a range of freely-available materials to help people understand and manage fall armyworm. Continue reading

Scientists discover new crop-destroying Armyworm is now “spreading rapidly” in Africa

Spodoptera frugiperda larva (fall armyworm) on Maize
Spodoptera frugiperda larva (fall armyworm) on Maize

 

New research announced today by scientists at CABI confirms that a recently introduced crop-destroying armyworm caterpillar is now spreading rapidly across Mainland Africa and could spread to tropical Asia and the Mediterranean in the next few years, becoming a major threat to agricultural trade worldwide.

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My UK adventure

Monitoring Himalayan balsam
Monitoring Himalayan balsam. Copyright: CABI

 

By Fernadis (Feddy) Makale, MRes, CABI

It all started with a single application email after coincidentally stumbling on a scholarship ad online. Landing in the UK at almost sub-zero temperatures I didn’t know what was ahead of me. I had successfully won a scholarship for a Research Masters (MRes) degree co-funded by CABI and Royal Holloway University of London, UK (RHUL). After going through all the bureaucracies involved in the getting a student visa to the UK with the strict deadlines, I knew pretty well that, whatever was ahead of me was not going to be a walk in the park.

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