Written by Dr Urs Schaffner, head of the Ecosystem Management section at CABI Europe-Switzerland.
Over the last few years, biological invasions have become a regular topic in the news. Today the general public is probably better informed about the negative environmental and economic impacts alien invasive species can cause than ever before. However, concern about invasive species and the search for methods to sustainably manage them has a much longer history, dating back to the 19th century.
A new report from the IUCN looks at conservation prospects, threats, protection and management of natural World Heritage sites. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 2 summarises the key trends in the state of conservation of natural World Heritage sites, the threats and pressures they are facing, and the effectiveness of their protection and management. The top three current threats are all areas in which CABI works, with invasive species, climate change and tourism impacts, in that order, being assessed as the most significant threats to natural World Heritage.
Last month the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) reported that an international measure that aims to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic species had come into force (see the full article on the IISD website).
CABI has published an ‘evidence note’ report on the invasive Fall Armyworm pest, showing how the caterpillar could cause maize losses costing 12 African countries up to US$6.1 billion per annum, unless control methods are urgently put in place. Continue reading →
Large tracts of farmlands and pastures in the Amhara Regional State of Ethiopia are infested by the invasive weed parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus). Parthenium reduces yields of major crops and replaces valuable pasture species, decreasing livestock productivity. Parthenium also makes many people sick, causing both skin and respiratory allergies, and displaces native plant species, damaging the region’s biodiversity.
In order to combat this weed, a project led by Virginia State University and funded by USAID through the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab at Virginia Tech has released two bioagents, the leaf-feeding beetle (Zygogramma bicolorata) and stem-boring weevil (Listronotus setosipennis). On June 20, 2017, thousands of adult Zygogramma and hundreds of Listronotus were released at several parthenium-infested sites around the town of Finote Selam.
Parthenium at time of Listronotus release, June 20, 2017
Parthenium at time of Zygogramma release, June 20, 2017
The fall armyworm is still invading regions in Africa. Since 2016 this worm has been spreading across sub-Saharan Africa and has been officially identified in 11 countries. Roger Day from the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) elaborates on its dangers in this blog and provides recommendations for governments and farmers.Continue reading →