Invasive alien species (IAS) have devastating impacts on native biota, causing the decline or even extinction of native species, negatively affecting ecosystems. Invasive plants, animals, insects and microorganisms enter and establish in environments outside of their natural habitat. They reproduce rapidly, out-compete native species for food, water and space, and are one of the main causes of global biodiversity loss. Species can be introduced deliberately, through for example, fish farming, pet trade, horticulture, bio-control or unintentionally, through such means as land and water transportation, travel, and scientific research.
CABI, under its Action on Invasives programme, is working to manage the already existing and potential invasive species in Pakistan. Pest Management Decision Guides (PMDGs), through the Plantwise Knowledge Bank are practical, step-by-step tools for plant doctors and extension agents to give advice following the principles of integrated pest management (IPM).
CABI has increased its capacity to fight the highly invasive and destructive Parthenium weed by opening a new quarantine facility at its Central and Western Asia (CWA) offices and laboratories in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
CABI has published a new evidence note highlighting a list of recommendations to fight the highly-invasive parthenium weed which can have significant impacts on human health, the environment, livestock production and health and crop yields.
Parthenium hysterophorus is a highly destructive weed which has invaded and is widespread in around 48 countries in Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific. In Pakistan the weed is spreading rapidly westwards and southwards across both rural and urban landscapes, affecting native ecology and harming agriculture.
Invasive species pose a serious threat to food security, biodiversity, water resources, human and animal health, and economic development. It is widely acknowledged that integrated control is the most effective strategy in managing invasive plants where it involves the use of herbicides, manual or mechanical control, and biological control agents in an integrated way. Last month, a short course on invasion biology and classical biological control of weeds was delivered at CABI in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, the highly invasive weed Parthenium hysterophorusis not only a problem for rural areas, in fact it is of equal concern for urban residents as well. Known locally as ‘Gajar Booti’, Parthenium is a major pest of both cropped and non-cropped areas of Pakistan, causing severe economic, environmental, and health-related problems.
In Pakistan, it has been reported that this weed is present almost everywhere, but the dilemma is that the general public have little to no knowledge about its harmful impacts. Keeping in view these facts, CABI in Pakistan under the Action on Invasives programme, recently launched an awareness drive in the rural areas of the Sheikhupura district to spread information on the negative impacts of this alien weed among more remote communities.