Clematis vitalba is a fast-growing vine that produces vast quantities of seeds and grows intensely as thickets over trees, shrubs and other vegetation. Due to its rapid growth rate and ability to form large clumps, the plant can quickly outcompete native biodiversity and is dangerous to forests which is why Clematis vitalba is classed as one of New Zealand’s most invasive alien plants. Current control methods include mechanical removal and herbicides. However, this project is investigating the potential of biological control using fungi from its native range to help control the weed.
St Helena’s endemic trees and insects are under threat, possibly due to introduced pathogens or changes to the range of endemic pathogens due to climate change. This project will survey and identify pathogens associated with tree death (including nursery-raised stock), and insect populations. Additionally, crop diseases will be surveyed and their management assessed. Methods developed through CABI’s Plantwise initiative will build capacity in diagnostics and management across all sectors, supporting growers, conservationists, and foresters. This will prevent further deterioration of the endemic ecosystem, increase food production and reduce the necessity to import food.
Mexican thorn is the most damaging invasive species on Ascension Island. Introduced purposely, this weed has naturalised and spread rapidly, outcompeting native vegetation and negatively impacting wildlife, while encouraging other invasive rodents. This project will take a strategic and integrated approach to controlling thorn on Ascension including a rigorous assessment of further biocontrol and improved chemical and mechanical treatment. The project will ensure local capacity is built to deliver those most appropriate and cost-effective for Ascension. The outcome will be a step-change in our ability to control Mexican thorn and result in a long-term contraction of its range and restoration of habitats.