Plant Health

The Pacific’s fragile ecosystem is constantly at risk from invasive species, pests and diseases. It is therefore vital that sustainable and appropriate management practices are developed and utilized to ensure   sustained productive use of the land. Plant Health aims to promote these practices by utilizing its three main units, entomology, pathology and weeds in undertaking regular surveys of pests and diseases, providing information, creating awareness among farmers,  updating information databases and assisting in eradication activities. 

Biological control of mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha) in Fiji and Papua New Guinea
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 17:07
ACIAR Project CP/2004/064

This project aims to reduce the negative impacts of the invasive weed Mikania micrantha (mile-a-minute) through classical biological control. The biocontrol agents being used are the caterpillars Actinote thalia pyrrha and the rust fungus Puccinia spegazzinii. 

The three-year project, which began in July 2006, encompasses the implementation of host-specificity testing, importation, mass rearing, release and monitoring of the biocontrol agents in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Community education and awareness-raising on biological control in general and of M. micrantha in particular will also be carried out. 

The invasive neotropical weed Mikania micrantha, shown here in flower.
The project is supported by majority funding from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) with significant support from the European Union, AusAID and NZAID. 

The project is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture, PNG research agencies (NARI, CCI and OPRA) and the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Water.

For more information about this project, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it