Last week, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Thematic Network on Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems hosted an e-conference on the fall armyworm outbreak in Africa which brought together experts, stakeholders and other interested parties to discuss the challenges posed by fall armyworm and to evaluate the possible solutions.
Invasive alien weed species have been a global environmental and human health issue for decades. In 1969, CABI organised the first International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds (ISBCW) in Delémont, Switzerland. Weed biocontrol research was then in its early stages and 20 scientists attended.
Invasive alien species should not be used in restoring degraded landscapes as their costs outweigh their benefits, experts say.
Invasive alien species, according to the Convention on Biological Diversity, are plants, animals and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem, and may adversely affect human health and the environment, including decline or elimination of native species.
Invasive alien plants contribute to land degradation by forming vast unproductive monocultures. These invasions have a negative impact on biodiversity, water resources, crop and pasture production, human and animal health, and as such undermine Africa’s ability to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals. Landscapes degraded as a result of unsustainable land-use practices are also more likely to be invaded by invasive plant species, making any attempts at restoration considerably more difficult. As such it is imperative that invasive species management forms an integral part of any attempt at landscape restoration. By actively removing invasive species, followed by restoration, livelihood outcomes will be enhanced across the continent.
In response to the growing threat of invasive species, the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) has called for urgent action to tackle the global spread of invasive species, even as the recent fall armyworm outbreak casts doubts over Africa and Asia’s preparedness to fight the scourge. CABI is a not-for-profit organisation that draws on scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.
Some of the world’s leading scientists in the field of alien invasive plants are to debate how best to tackle the scourge of a range of alien invasive plants – some of whose pollen can cause severe irritation in humans and threaten native ecosystems.
Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director Global Operations, has unveiled a prototype Biopesticides Portal that facilitates the identification, sourcing and application of more environmentally-friendly, cost-effective and sustainable biological control products in the global fights against agricultural pests and diseases.
The CABI-led project was highlighted this week (20 March 2018) at the Biocontrol Africa conference in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of a presentation co-authored by Dr Steve Edgington, Dr Melanie Bateman and Dr Emma Jenner.