The threat of invasive species to biodiversity: Biological control of Himalayan balsam

By Alan Gange. Reblogged from Open Access Government.

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Alan Gange, Amanda Currie & Nadia Ab Razak (Royal Holloway, University of London), Carol Ellison, Norbert Maczey & Suzy Wood (CABI ) and Robert Jackson & Mojgan Rabiey (University of Reading) discuss the threat of invasive species to biodiversity, including the biological control of Himalayan balsam

Invasive species are one of the main threats to biodiversity across the world, being second only to habitat destruction in causing biodiversity decline. In the UK, they cost the economy £1.7 billion annually, through costs of control, losses to agriculture and damage to infrastructure.

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New challenge prize aims to tackle fall armyworm in Africa

t47a98271.jpgA new challenge prize to help find the latest technology to combat the devastating impacts of the fall armyworm, which attacks over 80 different plant species, has today launched.

CABI will form part of the judging panel for the Fall Armyworm Tech Prize – which is being spearheaded by Feed the Future with financial support from Land O’Lakes International Development and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research – and will test the winning entries before they are implemented in the field.

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CABI joins international team of experts to develop a Global Surveillance System for crop diseases

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The international team of experts at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Photo: CIAT)

CABI has joined an international team of experts in the field of agricultural science to develop a framework for Global Surveillance System (GSS) for crop diseases that could help ensure greater food security around the world.

Dr Roger Day, Programme Executive for the recently launched Action on Invasives programme led by CABI, was of one many scientists representing more than 15 international research and governmental organisations concerned with reducing the global burden of crop diseases by informing, preparing and enabling response plans for a more food-secure future.

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A new tool to identify potential invasive species threats

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CABI has announced the beta launch of its invasive species Horizon Scanning Tool, a decision support aid to help users identify potential invasive species threats to a country, state or province. The tool is supported by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Gareth Richards, CABI’s Compendium Programme Manager, said, “Risk assessors, plant protection officers, quarantine officers, protected area managers and researchers will find that the invasive species Horizon Scanning Tool provides a quick and user-friendly means of accessing a large volume of relevant data for categorizing and prioritizing potential invasive species.”

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CABI launches programme to take Action on Invasive Species

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An extension officer in Ghana explaining how to manage Fall armyworm; photo: CABI

Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people face problems with invasive weeds, insects and plant diseases , which are out of control and have a major impact on global prosperity, communities and the environment. Developing countries are disproportionately affected. The global cost of the world’s 1.2 million invasive species is estimated at $1.4 trillion per year – close to 5 percent of global gross domestic product. In East Africa, five major invasive species alone cause $1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers each year.

In response, CABI is today launching a unique, global programme with the aim to protect and improve the livelihoods of 50 million poor rural households impacted by invasive species. The DFID and DGIS funded Action on Invasives programme will champion an environmentally sustainable, cross-sectoral and regional approach to dealing with invasive species.

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Invasive species — the hidden threat to sustainable development

Devastating damage to maize crops caused by fall armyworm in Ghana. Photo: CABI

When tackling health, hunger or education, how many projects consider the threat of invasive species? The Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International believes not incorporating biosecurity and invasive species management into development work could jeopardize the success of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this guest column, Roger Day highlights how invasive species can have major economic, social, and environmental impact and explains the importance of cross-sector collaboration.

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Triple attack on bananas could devastate $35bn global industry

Banana_Pests_spread_animationCABI scientists have today raised concerns that an attack on the world’s banana production is worse than first feared, with a perfect storm of three pests having the potential to decimate around $35 billion worth of crops.

Biosecurity experts at CABI believe the effects of the fungus known as Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4), together with the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) and the Banana Skipper butterfly (Erionota spp), could destroy banana plantations across Asia, Africa and Latin America. There are currently no cultivars resistant to these three threats.

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