St Kitts-Nevis launches project to minimize harmful effects of invasive alien species

Originally published on WIC News

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A project aimed at managing the risks and costs of invasive alien species on important ecosystems, species and genetic diversity was launched in St. Kitts and Nevis on Tuesday, at the Ocean Terrace Inn Conference Room.

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Alien species are the main cause of recent global extinctions

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The rosy wolfsnail (Euglandina roseais just one alien species which has led to species extinctions – initially introduced to Hawaii as a way of controlling African land snails, the species predated on the island’ s endemic snails and is thought to be directly responsible for the extinctions of 134 of these species. © Scot Nelson

Whilst many introduced alien species have little effect on the ecosystems in which they exist, others can have devastating impacts on biodiversity, causing extinctions at local and global scales. However, some scientists argue that the impact of alien species has been exaggerated, and suggest that native species are just as likely to cause extinctions. Researchers from University College London set out to determine if this was the case. Continue reading

Taking action on invasives and youth unemployment in Zambia

The CABI Blog

20180911_102912 Tibonge Mfune sampling fall armyworm larvae to survey for natural enemies in Zambia.

Youth unemployment is a significant economic and social burden for Zambia. So too is the impact of invasive species on agricultural production and the natural environment.

Are these mutually exclusive challenges, or can youth unemployment and tackling agricultural challenges, such as invasive species, be effectively positioned together to deliver jobs, food security and sustainable agriculture?

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Fall Armyworm attack: ‘Eastern India more vulnerable to infestation’

Originally published on DownToEarth

Warmer temperatures increase the metabolism and reproductive rates of the pest

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Fall Armyworm was first reported in July 2018 in Karnataka. Ever since, it has spread to its neighbouring states. Reports are now coming from West Bengal and Bihar as well. The initial damages are widespread as the pest is a voracious feeder. But we have reacted quickly. The Karnataka government, for example, has issued ad hoc recommendations for emergency response against it.

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CABI announces major commitments in fight against invasive species

The first expert panel; from left: Orlando Sosa (FAO), Chaona Phiri (Birdlife Zambia), Kabelo Brown (moderator) and Arne Witt (CABI)

Coinciding with its regional consultation with member states in Africa, CABI hosted a policy summit on invasive species in Gaborone, Botswana on 28 February. About 70 delegates representing policymakers, research, the private sector and civil society from across Africa gathered to learn about and discuss the impact of invasives as well as the technical and policy solutions required to defeat them.

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CABI shares expertise on rubber tree blight in major new Amazon documentary series

Amazon
‘Without rubber, the economy as we know it ceases to exist’

CABI is today sharing its expertise on the devastating rubber tree blight disease – that could severely impact upon the world’s rubber production for essential items including tyres, shoes and the seals on a multitude of household and industrial items– as part of a major new Amazon documentary series now streaming.

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‘Cracking the code’ of woody weed spread with machine-learnt algorithms

The CABI Blog

rotor-cipher-machine-1147801_1920 Machine learning algorithms have their origins in early ‘computers’ such as the German WW2 ciphering Enigma machine

A scientific tool which has its principles in early ‘computers’ such as the German WW2 Enigma machine – used to convey secret commercial, diplomatic and military communication – is helping to map the fractional cover of the woody weed Prosopis julifloraacross the Afar Region of Ethiopia.

PhD Candidate Hailu Shiferaw from Addis Ababa University, who is being supervised by CABI’s Dr Urs Schaffner, Professor Woldeamlak Bewket (AAU) and Dr Sandra Eckert (Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern), has compared the performances of five Machine Learning Algorithms (MLAs) to test their ability at mapping the fractional cover/abundance and distribution of Invasive Alien Plant Species (IAPS) – particularly Prosopis which has already devastated an area equivalent to half of neighbouring Djibouti.

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