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Managing invasive Madagascar rubbervine in Brazil

Invasion by the alien plant Madagascar rubbervine is endangering native flora and fauna in northeastern Brazil. In the Caatinga area, the endemic Carnaúba palm, with its highly valued wax, has come under threat. CABI, in collaboration with Brazilian counterparts, is seeking to evaluate the rust Maravalia cryptostegia as a potential biocontrol agent for Madagascar rubbervine. The same rust has been used in Australia to successfully control another invasive alien rubbervine species.

Assessing a biocontrol agent for Jatropha gossypiifolia

Jatropha gossypiifolia (bellyache bush) is a major invasive plant in northern Australia. Previous biocontrol efforts have focused on insects but the Australian Government is now also keen to explore fungal pathogens. As experts, CABI is carrying out safety and efficacy experiments with the rust pathogen Phakopsora arthuriana using a strain originating from Trinidad. Results will help the Australian authorities decide whether this rust is suitable for biocontrol of J. gossypiifolia in Australia.

Researching introduced forest species in Trinidad

Many introduced species can have an adverse effect on native biodiversity, especially on a delicate island habitat such as Trinidad and Tobago. Three forest species are being particularly troubling, namely, Tectona grandis (teak), Acacia mangium (brown salwood) and Leucaena leucocephala (white leadtree). So, with funding from the FAO, CABI researched the species to find out how they behave and where they have invaded with a view to controlling them sustainably.

Controlling the invasive blackberry on the Galápagos Islands

The unique wildlife and farmland on the Galapagos Islands are threatened with a non-native invasive weed. The invasive blackberry now covers around 30,000 hectares and can grow up to 3 metres tall. CABI scientists are searching for potential biocontrol agents from the Asian native range of the blackberry to introduce here.

Controlling floating pennywort in a safe and sustainable way

Floating pennywort is an invasive aquatic plant that can over-run water bodies in the UK, and is threatening habitats, native plants, fish and insects. Also a problem across much of Europe, this plant has rapid growth and can regenerate from small fragments. Management is mainly limited to mechanical clearance which is expensive and often ineffective. Through comprehensive host range testing, this project aims to identify the safest and most effective biocontrol agent to keep the plant in check.

Controlling wild ginger

Plants from the Hedychium genus are widely loved and cultivated as ornamentals but a few are threatening delicate ecosystems in Hawaii, New Zealand, the Macaronesian Archipelago (Azores, Madeira and the Canaries), Brazil, Australia and La Réunion. We are researching natural ways to manage the plants where they have become invasive, which involves returning to their original home range in the North eastern Himalayan foothills to try to find damaging and specific insects and/or pathogens which may prove suitable for release in the invaded range.