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. 
 

SPC and SPREP share invasive species information across the Pacific region
Thursday, 25 October 2012 09:25
Wednesday 24 October 2012, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Fiji –

Regional participants from ten Pacific Island countries are this week (23–25 October) meeting to network and learn about the global Invasive Species Compendium (ISC), developed by the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau International (CABI). This resource is the most extensive and authoritative compilation on the subject in the world. Invasive species are a major threat to the global economy and the environment, costing billions of dollars to control each year. Pacific Island countries need to be extra vigilant against introduced pests as they can drive native species to extinction. The ISC provides a detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide.

Organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and SPC, the workshop is being held at Novotel, Lami.  It will review the ISC, which is freely available and open source. The European Commission is a major funding partner.  The ISC is an online (www.cabi.org/isc), comprehensive encyclopaedic reference work covering recognition, biology, distribution, impact and management of the world’s invasive plants and animals.

Participants come from varying backgrounds; they include representatives from quarantine, forestry, research, environment and extension offices and non-governmental organisations. Ms Lucinda Charles, who is an author at CABI and supported the development of the compendium, said that the European Union is funding its further development for three more years. ‘We are particularly looking at more input from the Pacific region. What are the information needs of Pacific Islanders? In this workshop we will be looking at updating the datasheets from the Pacific countries.’ The compendium has over 1,500 detailed datasheets and over 7,000 basic datasheets.

Dr Soetikno Sastroutomo heads the CABI Malaysia office and gave a thorough introduction to CABI in his presentation. CABI is a not-for-profit international organisation that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. One of the outputs of the workshop will be a prioritisation of species relevant to the region for inclusion in the compendium.

Dr Sastroutomo said the new CABI initiative, Plantwise, will improve food security and the lives of the rural poor by reducing crop losses. Linked to this initiative are the plant health clinics that are being actively promoted to bring pest diagnostic services to farmers. Plant health clinics are a component in the regional project on integrated crop management being implemented by the SPC Plant Health Team. The clinics are currently being trialled in Solomon Islands.

Representing the Land Resources Division, Mr Emil Adams in his opening remarks at the workshop said that the division’s work includes identifying invasive species, pests, and disease problems and strengthening national and regional capacity in pest diagnosis by conducting pest and disease surveys, skills attachments, appropriate diagnostic tools, and extension materials on invasive species. The Pest List Database (PLD), an initiative of SPC, is updated on national records of pest incursions, and SPC manages the regional PLD as a useful resource in conducting pest risk analysis in market access and for monitoring pests affecting food security. SPC has worked to provide technical assistance on the management of several invasive species, including mile-a-minute, Merremia, water hyacinth, Jerusalem thorn, African tulip, and Sida species.

SPC is developing a climate change communications strategy as an integrated platform to develop and deliver climate change information to different stakeholders. Climate change is a multi-sector issue thus the need to develop a consistent and singular message development forum.  Invasive species issues will form core messages in the communications strategy. The use of on-line tools and social media will ensure a continuous interface with targeted audience on climate change and invasive species knowledge.

For more information, please contact: Dr Posa Skelton ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ), or Emil Adams ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

 

Effective management can help maintain productivity of land resources,stregthen food security, safeguard the environment and increase revenue. Plant Health strives to improve awareness on environmental implications of agricultural practices and offering safer environmentally friendly options.