Green Invasion: Destroying Livelihoods in Africa [Video]

Abigail Rumsey:

Invasive weed species in East Africa are causing losses to crop yields and severely impacting livestock. This video from the CABI Invasives team gives the story from the communities whose livelihoods are directly impacted by invasive plants.

Originally posted on CABI Invasives Blog:

CABI, together with Tmax Productions, have produced a video called the ‘Green Invasion – Destroying Livelihoods in Africa.” The short film (approx. 7mins long) details how invasive weeds are impacting on the lives of rural communities in East Africa.

Although a large number of non-native species have become invasive in the region, this film focusses on four of the most problematic species namely Chromolaena odorata (Devil weed), Parthenium hysterophorus (famine weed), Prosopis juliflora (Mathenge) and Opuntia stricta (erect prickly pear). The excellent footage shows the extent of  weed infestations with accounts from community members on how these invasive plants are destroying the natural resource base on which they depend. It is clear that invasive weeds are destroying traditions, cultures and a way of life for millions of people on the continent.

However, all is not lost. The film notes that if effective management programmes are implemented, including biological control, we can make a difference to many people’s lives.

Although…

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IPPC: Why is pest risk analysis important?

Experts in pest risk analysis from around the world give their views on why risk analysis is important for trade and protection of domestic agriculture.

Video from the IPPC.

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Pests of the forest are spreading

Mountain pine beetle infested forest

Mountain pine beetle infested forest in BC, Canada © Simon Fraser University Public Affairs and Media Relations (CC BY 2.0 license)

Much is covered in the news about deforestation by humans, but less is widely known about the damage done to forests by pests and diseases. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) produces an assessment of the world’s forest resources every five years. Their last report highlighted the effect that climate change will have on forests and their pests.

“A changing climate will alter the disturbance dynamics of native forest insect
pests and pathogens, as well as facilitating the establishment and spread of introduced
pest species.”

There have already been incidences of pests spreading due to abnormally high winter temperatures. For example, the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, has been expanding its range in North America for the past fifteen years. Where it was once a pest of the southern Rocky Mountains and west of the American Continental Divide, it is now moving north and east where winters are becoming milder.

When trees suffer climate induced stress from increased drought and extreme climatic events such as storms, they become more susceptible to damage from pests. Also, a pest that establishes in a new territory doesn’t always have the natural enemies present to keep its population numbers in check, providing opportunities for severe outbreaks.

The increased connectivity between countries has facilitated the global spread of forest pests.

“The volume, speed and variety of global trade have increased the opportunities for
pests to move internationally.”

Phytosanitary measures at borders are important now more than ever, to ensure that movement of pests within shipments is limited wherever possible.

There is little information on the global distribution of forests pests, particularly in developing countries. This data is necessary to perform pest risk analyses and provide early warning systems for countries. With a changing climate, it is vital that countries work together to monitor and protect against these pests.

Find out more about forests for International Day of Forests: http://www.fao.org/forestry/international-day-of-forests/en/

FAO (2010) Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010. FAO Forestry Paper 163.

Direct2Farm reaches 4 million farmers in India

D2F mobile services have reached 4 million farmers in India. Credit: Sharbendu Banerjee © CABI

D2F mobile services have reached 4 million farmers in India. Credit: Sharbendu Banerjee © CABI

The Direct2Farm (D2F) project, run by CABI, provides mobile information services to farmers in India. Two D2F initiatives in India that use voice-based systems to communicate with farmers, mKisan and IKSL, have now cumulatively reached over 4 million farmers. The use of mobile technology allows extension messages to reach isolated communities that have few means of accessing such information. Read more of this post

Plant health system developing well in Zambia

Farmers' validation of factsheets during Plantwise training in Lusaka, Zambia

Farmers’ validation of factsheets during Plantwise training in Lusaka, Zambia. Credit: Stefan Toepfer © CABI

Since the launch of Plantwise in Zambia last year, much progress has been made to build capacity within the national plant health system. In collaboration with the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI), CABI staff have successfully trained crop officers and extension staff from the Department of Agriculture, ZARI, and Self Help Africa on ‘how to be a plant doctor’. In addition to this, training on development of pest management decision guides and factsheets has produced content that will be made available on the Plantwise knowledge bank for other plant doctors to use. A workshop on data management has also been run, training plant health experts in recording data at plant clinics, data harmonization, validation, analysis and sharing. Read more of this post

▶ Tuta absoluta: combating the tomato leafminer [video]

A recent IPM workshop in Ethiopia focussed on the tomato leafminer – a pest that causes devastation on tomato crops in Europe, Africa and South America. This video shows how the workshop attendees dedicated their time to finding out more about the pest, seeing it in the field, and working on recommendations for control.

To view factsheets, maps, images and new reports of this pest, visit the Plantwise Knowledge Bank.

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Horizon Scanning for Invasive Species

Abigail Rumsey:

This article from the CABI Invasives Blog highlights the importance of looking to the future when determining the threat of pests to a country.

Originally posted on CABI Invasives Blog:

In this, the era of globalisation, increases in international trade, transport and travel have driven an upsurge in the diversity and volume of non-native species introductions to new areas worldwide. Introduced plant, animal and pathogen species may fail to establish in a new range, and where they do establish, may be environmentally benign. However, there is potential for introduced non-native species to become invasive, even after a (sometimes extensive) period of time without apparent negative impacts.

Preventing the introduction and establishment of a species considered to be an invasion risk is key to mitigating its potential impacts in a new area. For this to be done effectively, it is vitally important that countries conduct horizon scanning initiatives to determine the non-native species likely to arrive, to evaluate the threat posed should the organism become established, to determine by which pathway(s) the organism may be introduced and where appropriate, to…

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Video: See Xanthomonas bacteria infecting a tomato plant

If you’ve ever wondered what exactly happens when a disease infects a plant, watch this video. This detailed animation shows Xanthomonas bacteria infecting a tomato plant, causing bacterial spot disease.

For more information about Xanthomonas in plants, and how to control it, visit the Plantwise Knowledge Bank.

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Plantwise visits ‘open source GIS’ conference, FOSS4G 2013

On Thursday 19th November, I attended the ‘Free and Open Source Software For GIS’ (FOSS4G) conference in Nottingham, UK with two of my colleagues from the Plantwise Knowledge Bank. The conference, organised by OSGeo, had the strapline “Geo For All” and aimed to show that the tools that this Geographic Information Systems (GIS) community is developing can be, and are being, used by people in many different areas of work. We were visiting the conference to get an update on what open source software is now available, and how other people are tailoring and combining these packages to suit their needs. Read more of this post

Days are numbered for pests in Kenya’s irrigation schemes

Plant clinic launch in Mbeere, Kenya

Plant clinic launch at Mbeere Sub-county SHDP, Kenya © Rose Kamau

Report by Peter Karanja and Abigail Rumsey

Between May and July this year, 22 new plant clinics were established in Kenya. Nine of these clinics were launched by the Smallscale Horticulture Development Project (SHDP), which has been funded by the African Development Bank to help smallholder farmers increase the amount that they produce and earn through irrigation and enhanced marketing. The new clinics have been initiated by the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries in irrigation schemes in nine districts.

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