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.
Invasive non-native species are a major threat on oceanic islands due to their vulnerability and endemism, typical of island ecosystems. On Tristan da Cunha, a remote group of islands in the South Atlantic, Brown soft scale, (Coccus hesperidum), an invasive alien scale insect, has infested Tristan’s only native tree, Phylica arborea; and is now threatening the extinction of one of Britain’s rarest bird species, Nesospiza buntings. There is, therefore, an urgent need to find an appropriate method to mitigate the impact of the scale insects and prevent the total collapse of the Phylica forest. The aim of this project is to select and safely test suitable biocontrol agents to reduce scale numbers below a damaging threshold and safeguard Tristan’s endemic buntings.
The coffee berry borer (CBB) is the most serious coffee pest, worldwide, causing crop damage in excess of $US500 million, annually. In Colombia, 75% of coffee crops are affected by this pest, where it directly damages coffee beans, destroying the taste and making the beans unsaleable. Furthermore, climate change is enabling the wider spread of CBB, especially at higher altitudes. To overcome losses, the trend amongst farmers is to intensify their activities and expand growing areas. CABI and partners are producing an alert system that uses climatic data and remote sensing technology to give farmers advance warnings of CBB surges, allowing them time to access and apply controls. Biopesticides will be profiled by CABI and relayed into the alert system to further advance the farmers’ abilities to select the right product, at the right time. Women farmers are also integral to the project and to on-farm decision-making but a lack of access to information reduces their participation. This project will focus on overcoming gender disparities in coffee farming.