Recently, the health of coconut palms has come under severe threat. The Pacific Community (SPC), working with Pacific Island countries and territories, and development partners, is looking for ways to meet this threat before it devastates the hopes of economic progress in the region. In August of 2017 an alert was issued identifying a new danger to the Pacific, which is causing devastation to coconut palms and expanding rapidly across the region. The new threat comes from a longstanding adversary in the region: the rhinoceros beetle.
Invasive Species Resources
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Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
International Maritime Organization.
Amendments to an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of potentially invasive species in ships' ballast water entered into force on 13 October 2019. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the BWM Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, to address this problem. The BWM Convention entered into force in 2017. The amendments formalise an implementation schedule to ensure ships manage their ballast water to meet a specified standard ("D-2 standard") aimed at ensuring that viable organisms are not released into new sea areas, and make mandatory the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems, which sets out how ballast water management systems used to achieve the D-2 standard have to be assessed and approved. This will help ensure that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location – and avoid the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
The United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has analyzed the potential environmental effects of establishing an integrated management strategy to control cogongrass in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The draft environmental assessment is now available for comment. Cogongrass is an invasive exotic grass found on public and private property, along roadways, in forests, and on farmland. This federally regulated noxious weed grows rapidly, reducing forest productivity, harming wildlife habitat and ecosystems, and encroaching on pastures and hayfields. Because of cogongrass' impact on agriculture and forest industries, Congress has given APHIS funding to partner with Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina to control the spread of this weed. APHIS is proposing is an integrated management strategy that uses preventive, cultural, mechanical, biological, and chemical methods to control cogongrass in key areas of its distribution. APHIS invites the public to review and comment on this environmental assessment by April 1, 2020.
Delaware Department of Agriculture.
A destructive, invasive beetle that kills ash trees, the emerald ash borer (EAB), has been confirmed in Delaware, making it the 28th state to have found the insect, the Delaware Department of Agriculture announced today. Delaware will be added to a federal quarantine already in 27 other states restricting the interstate shipment of all ash wood and wood products - ash nursery stock, green lumber, waste, compost and chips - as well as hardwood firewood of all species.
University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.
The Asian longhorned tick, which preys on a variety of hosts including humans and wild and domestic animals, has been found in Kentucky. This new tick is known to attack animals in large numbers and will be a concern to livestock producers, wildlife enthusiasts and pet owners. The tick has been found in small numbers on elk in Martin County and black bear in Floyd County. It was found in large numbers on a bull in Metcalfe County in the south-central part of the state. Individuals who find a usually large number of ticks on their pet or livestock should contact their local veterinarian. Those who find single ticks they think might be an Asian longhorned tick should work with their county extension agent for agriculture and natural resources to submit the sample to UK entomologists for positive identification.
Restoring islands through the removal of non-native invasive mammals is a powerful biodiversity conservation tool. This new study now shows that human communities on islands could benefit from restoration actions, which can potentially reduce or eliminate the burden of diseases transmitted to people by invasive species. Simply put, removal of invasive species can benefit human health in addition to ecological health.
CABI scientists have today warned of the impending rapid spread of the crop-devastating pest, fall armyworm, across Asia following its arrival in India, with major crop losses expected unless urgent action is taken. The warning comes following a pest alert published this week by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) on the website of one of its bureaux, NBAIR, confirming the discovery of fall armyworm in the southern state of Karnataka. CABI scientists warned Asia was at risk from fall armyworm following the pest's rapid spread across Africa in 2017.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Collaboration between Canadian governments, industry, academia and other partners in plant health is essential to protect our resources from new and emerging risks, drive innovation and ensure that Canadian industry remains competitive and sustainable. Plant health partners in Canada are pleased to announce the establishment of the Canadian Plant Health Council – fulfilling a multi-partner commitment to collaboratively implement the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada. The Canadian Plant Health Council will address priorities for the plant health sector, working together on preventive approaches and activities to protect forests, agriculture and other plants from pests, diseases and other risks.
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
Urban legends about the origins of canal grass in Panama abound, but the Smithsonian has new evidence that puts the question to rest. Canal grass is an invasive weed, native to Asia. Because its tiny seeds blow in the wind, it readily invades clearings and spreads to form impenetrable stands by budding from tillers and rhizomes. Once established, canal grass is challenging to eliminate.
North American Invasive Species Management Association.
A new invasive species coalition is celebrating significant milestones in preventing expansion of invasive species after the first anniversary of an important agreement. The North American Invasive Species Management Association, Wildlife Forever, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to implement on-the-ground strategies to engage the American public and help prevent the spread of invasive species under the new agreement.
Cornell University. College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Cornell Alliance for Science.
Farmers who grow cereal crops in most African countries are all too familiar with the challenges presented by striga, a parasitic plant also known as witchweed that infests farmers’ fields and causes lower yields, or even no harvest at all. Now African scientists are breeding maize that can resist this pest plant as extension agents are offering farmers various solutions for improving yields in areas where the invasive weed is especially prevalent.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (DAM) today announced that although freezing temperatures will kill off adult spotted lanternflies (SLF), the public is urged to stay vigilant and report overwintering egg masses. In the fall, SLF will lay their eggs on any flat surface such as vehicles, firewood, outdoor furniture, stone or other items which can be inadvertently transported to new areas. If this insect becomes established in New York, it could impact New York's forests, agricultural and tourism industries. "To date, there has not been a documented spotted lanternfly infestation in New York, but I encourage the public to stay aware and be ready to report egg masses or other signs of this insect to help prevent infestations," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
Assistance from the public is crucial in limiting the movement of SLF and protecting New York's natural resources. DEC and DAM are urging the public to inspect outdoor items such as vehicles, outdoor furniture and camping equipment for egg masses or insects, and report any sightings by sending photos and location information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone that visits locations of SLF quarantines in other states should look for and remove insects and egg masses on items before leaving those areas. For more information, please visit DEC's spotted lanternfly webpage.
Delaware Department of Agriculture.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) announced today that they expanded the spotted lanternfly quarantine to include all portions of New Castle County north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. This is due to recent detections of established populations outside of the initial quarantine zone enacted in February 2019 that included eleven zip codes. "This expansion is necessary in our attempt to eradicate, control, and prevent the spread of spotted lanternfly in Delaware and to surrounding states," said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. The spotted lanternfly is a destructive invasive plant hopper that attacks many hosts including trees, shrubs, orchards, grapes, and hops. For more detailed information regarding the quarantine, permitting, treatment, or to report a sighting of spotted lanternfly, visit the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s dedicated spotted lanternfly webpage or call the dedicated spotted lanternfly hotline at (302) 698-4632.
University of Guam.
The University of Guam received another round of funding in September under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Act for the surveying and monitoring of invasive pests of solanaceous crops that are on USDA’s Priority Pest List for 2021. Solanaceae, or nightshades, are a family of flowering plants that include tomato, eggplant, and chili pepper. As part of the national effort this year, UOG was awarded $38,000 to survey and monitor for two pests: Tuta absoluta, which is a moth and type of leafminer capable of destroying an entire crop, and Ralstonia solanacearum race 3 biovar 2, which is a bacterium, known as a bacterial wilt, that infects through the roots and is deadly to plants.
The work through UOG better prepares the island to manage these invasive species if or when they arrive. "There are certain pathogens and insects that have a reputation of being really bad. These are two of them," said project lead Robert L. Schlub, a researcher and faculty member of UOG Cooperative Extension and Outreach with a doctorate in plant pathology. "They aren’t on Guam, but if they show up, we want to know so we can help get them under control."