Pioneering research carried out by CABI scientists in collaboration with Royal Holloway and the University of Reading is looking to enhance the effectiveness of the biological control of invasive species. The team is using rust fungus (Puccinia komarovii var. glanduliferae) to control the invasive species, Himalayan balsam (impatients gladulifera), and developing ways in which this approach could be replicated for other invasive plant species.
Himalayan balsam is one of the UK’s most widespread invasive weed species, colonising river banks, wasteland, damp woodlands, roadways and railways. Research by CABI scientists has shown local invertebrate biodiversity is negatively affected by the presence of Himalayan balsam. This leads to fragmented, destabilised ecosystems, which has serious consequences on processes and functioning, and complicates habitat restoration unless remedial actions are implemented.
Tanner, R.A., Varia, S., Eschen, R., Wood, S., Murphy, S.T. & Gange, A.C. (2013) Impacts of an invasive non-native annual weed, Impatiens glandulifera, on above- and below-ground invertebrate communities in the United Kingdom. PLoS ONE, 8(6): 1-13