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Archive for the ‘Emerging/invasive pests’ Category

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http://www.freshfruitportal.com/2014/04/21/collaboration-key-to-contain-panama-disease-comeback/?country=australia

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Photo: http://www.shutterstock.com

April 21st, 2014

Major banana-producing regions went on alert last week , heeding a warning from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the frightening return of Panama Disease.

The FAO asked traders and producers to step up their monitoring and prevention efforts for Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense, the soil-borne fungus that propagates Panama Disease and brought the commercial industry to its knees in the 1950s.

Although planted for its resistance, the leading Cavendish variety has fallen prey to a recent Fusarium mutation, dubbed Tropical Race 4 (TR4). This evolved strain of Panama Disease has threatened Asian producers since the 1990s.

Fear now grows that this killer fungus could spread further into Asia, Africa and Latin America, following new detections in Mozambique and Jordan.

Gianluca Gondolini, secretariat of the World Banana Forum, said Latin American in particular will need to implement prevention efforts to protect the livelihood of its banana-producing nations.

“Latin America has three of the world’s biggest exporters, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Guatemala. That poses a threat from a market perspective and has companies and governments on alert because it relates to revenue as well as the livelihood of the people working with banana plantations,” Gondolini told http://www.freshfruitportal.com.

“It could create a similar portrait to what happened in Panama 50 years ago when the entire industry was devastated by Fusarium and all the Gros Michel was replaced with Cavendish.”

Although the consequences of Fusarium propagation are hard to predict, Gondolini pointed to historical examples of Panama Disease to demonstrate what could lie ahead.

“We can talk about what has happened in the past and analyze what has been the impact of Fusarium in previous varieties like Gros Michel, which created a sort of crossroad between the industry entirely failing or replacing it with another variety, which was the case in the 60s,” he said.

“There are places in Asia that have been affected for 20 years by TR4 and the consequence is quite impressive for them because the disease is expanding every year. It is estimated in the Philippines, the fourth largest exporter in the world, that the track is increasing by 7% a year.”

TR4 has already been detected in three of the top 10 banana-producing nations: China, the Philippines and Indonesia. In addition to the recent cases in Mozambique and Jordan, TR4 has also attacked plantations in Australia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Click here for a map of where Panama Disease Race 1 and Race 4 are present.  http://panamadisease.org/map/map

“The point is that the industry is not able to manage Fusarium in agronomic terms. Once it gets in the soil of the plant, it is impossible. There are no options unless you abandon the plantation for years,” he said.

“To say that it won’t spread, that’s an issue. It’s a matter of time. It’s expanding because of the different nature of the disease. It’s through movement of equipment and people. There is always potential risk.”

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In response, the World Banana Forum has created a task force that brings together banana companies, NGOs, government bodies and academics to collaborate on an action plan. TR4 is also on the agenda for upcoming meetings in Kenya, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago, the FAO reported.

“We need immediate action and long-term action. The immediate action is raising awareness, defining informational materials, defining groups. We also need capacity building, training materials, quarantines,” Gondolini said.

“In the long term, the issue relates to resistant varieties, which could be the best solution. We also need an early warning system to detect the disease and prevent spread to other areas.”

Gondolini emphasized the social and economic importance of bananas on a global level.

FAOSTAT lists bananas as the eighth most important food crop in the world and the fourth most important food crop among the world’s least-developed countries.

Bananas not only rank as the fruit of choice for U.S. shoppers, but it is also a dietary staple for many living in West Africa, Central America and Asia.

“It is a global crop so it has an impact on the livelihood of people in producing countries and actors involved along the supply chain,” Gondolini said.

“This is a risk for the sector but also an opportunity to collaborate, so we should really leverage the support of everyone involved in the banana sector.”

www.freshfruitportal.com

 

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U.S. Farm Bill funds $5.4 million to battle invasive species in Florida, research non-native pests
Money will help battle snails, beetles and pests

http://www.wptv.com/news/region-s-palm-beach-county/boynton-beach/us-farm-bill-funds-54-million-to-battle-invasive-species-in-florida-research-non-native-pests

Jeff Skrzypek
Apr 18, 2014

SUBURBAN BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — – They are creep, crawly and do not belong in Florida.

Invasive species cost residents a half a billion dollars a year but now the federal government is stepping in to fork out millions to help fight the growing pest problem.

Farmers like Nancy Roe, who farms for Green Cay Produce in Suburban Boynton Beach, wage the battle on invasive species around the clock.

“Everything is so global now that shipments come in and it just takes one or two of an insect,” said Roe.

Invasive species like the Giant African Land Snail and the Ambrosia Beetle are just two bugs on the growing list of non-native species thriving in the Sunshine State.

The more critters who invade the state, the more costly it becomes for both farmers and consumers.

“Our costs are higher and that has to be passed on to somebody at some point,” said Roe.

But now the federal government is stepping in the try and combat the issue.

The government allotted $5.4 million in the 2014 Farm Bill to help fight the costly pests.

“It’s probably not enough, but I’m glad to have it. We can’t be greedy,” said Roe.

The money will fund programs to eradicate Giant African Land Snails, protect avocado plants from the Laurel Wilt and will also beef up dog inspection of incoming travelers. The money will also help research citrus greening and honeybee pests.

The Florida Department of Agriculture said in a statement the funds will, “help ensure Florida’s famed agriculture industry can continue for generations.”

Roe said the funds are a good start but much more money and research is needed just to start competing in the fight against invasive species.

“We’ll never win it. We’ll never win it completely because it’s biology and it’s a constant battle,” said Roe.

The state estimates the agriculture industry is worth $108 billion dollars.

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Thompson Reuters Foundation
Source: World Food Programme – Tue, 8 Apr 2014 12:26 PM
Author: World Food Programme http://www.trust.org/item/20140408170802-3zpig/?dm_i=1ANQ,2D17K,6LPWNX,8KKXQ,1

 

The Coffee Rust Crisis is hitting households; economies in the small village of La Conquista. One of those is Ilianas: Her husband relocated to Mexico to find work. She grew and sold plantains and bananas, but they are not as profitable as coffee. In order to make ends meet she did not enroll her eldest daughter in school. Fortunately between May and October, WFP and the Government of Guatemala will provide food and technical assistance to the families of La Conquista to help them overcome this crisis.

GUATEMALA CITY. –Iliana Miranda Alvarez lives in the community of La Conquista, Department of San Marcos. She is 31 years old, married, and mother of five children: two girls and three boys. The youngest one is only one year and five months old. Just like her neighbor’s, her family’s main source of income is coffee. Iliana and her husband own a lot of land in which they grow coffee and bananas. The lot is small and yields are low, to supplement their income and cover the family´s basic expenses, Iliana’s husband works as a migrant labourer.

Coffee Rust: The Silent Plague That Began 2 Years Ago Since 2012, La Conquista (in Guatemala) and other coffee growing communities in Central America have been affected by a plague of Coffee Rust. The result: Coffee crop yields have been reduced drastically during the 2012-2013 harvest season and no change is expected for the current 2013-2014 season. The impact has been considerably negative on families whose main source of income is coffee production. Heads of households are forced to find jobs in nearby coffee plantations, but these have also been hit by the plague. Iliana’s husband used to work for “La Union” plantation, which was also the source of income for many other locals. With coffee trees affected by the Coffee Rust at home and nearby plantations, Iliana’s husband was forced to go to Mexico in search of work. He was successful, but now he has to factor in additional expenses, such as transportation fares and living expenditures, which have reduced the family’s income by 10 percent, when compared to the previous year. The highest family income is 450 Quetzals (US$58), which doesn’t even cover a quarter of the cost of Guatemala’s Basic Food Basket- nutritional necessities, which is around 2,900 Quetzals (US$376) a month.

Bananas and Plantains Can’t Replace Coffee Despite their efforts to commercialize alternative crops, such as bananas and plantains, the women of La Conquista are bearing the brunt of the Coffee Rust crisis. To their dismay, the production and market prices of bananas and plantains are simply not enough to replace coffee. In the face of economic hardship, Iliana had to resort to a coping strategy to save money:  This year she decided not to enroll her eldest daughter in school simply because her family cannot afford the cost of uniforms and books. But at this stage any savings could not be enough. The situation will only worsen come May, which is the beginning of the Lean Season. Prices of staple foods such as maize will rise in the local market, making it harder for Coffee-Rust affected families to access nutritious foods.

La Conquista will receive WFP assistance Fortunately La Conquista will receive food and technical assistance from WFP and the Government of Guatemala. In exchange for building assets, the families in La Conquista will receive food to supplement their incomes between May and October, which is the critical Lean Season. The most vulnerable families will receive food rations with maize, beans, and vegetable oil to cover 50 percent of their food needs for the next six months. WFP works in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, which will also provide technical assistance to the community to improve soil conservation and raise crop yields. Iliana and other women in the community have started to build live fences (groups of trees, bushes, etc.) on their plots to prevent soil erosion and to improve soil quality in preparation for the technical assistance in the months to come.

16,000 Families in 6 Departments Are Receiving Assistance Besides the families in La Conquista, WFP currently supports 16,000 families affected by the Coffee Rust in six departments: Guatemala, Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Huehuetenango, El Quiche, and San Marcos. The beneficiary families are selected on criteria defined by WFP to guarantee that the most-in-need households receive assistance. Families are selected based on the following:

1. High vulnerability. 2. Own a small land plot with damaged crops caused by the 2012-2013 dry season, 50% of the crops were affected during the last crop cycle, or the family does not own land at all. 3. No food stocks. 4. Children under 5 years old live in the household. 5. Women as head of the household. 6. Members with special needs, elderly people, etc.

 

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Irinnews

http://www.irinnews.org/report/99877/mutant-wheat-fungus-alarms-food-experts?dm_i=1ANQ,2D17K,6LPWNX,8KL1K,1

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Photo: Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN- Wheat under threat

JOHANNESBURG, 2 April 2014 (IRIN) – Outbreaks of a deadly fungal disease in wheat crops in Germany and Ethiopia in 2013 have had the scientific community buzzing over the threat posed to global food security.

Wheat stem rust, also known as wheat black rust, is often referred to as the “polio of agriculture”: The rapidly mutating fungal disease can travel thousands of kilometres and wipe out crops.

Wheat farmers and scientists at a recent summit hosted by the Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT ) have been examining outbreaks of different strains of wheat stem rust in the two countries to identify any similarities.

In Germany “the occurrence of stem rust was favoured by a period of unusually high temperatures… and an unusually late development of the wheat crop due to cold spring and early summer temperatures,” explained Kerstin Flath, senior scientist at Germany’s Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants at the Julius Kuehn-Institut. The outbreak occurred in June in central Germany, a mainly wheat producing area, and was the first in the country in several decades.

“A changing climate will ‘definitely’ favour this thermophilic fungus” Scientists noted that the rust came so late that even the fungicides sprayed earlier to prevent leaf rust epidemics proved ineffective.

Then in November 2013 the disease struck a popular variety of wheat in Ethiopia called digalu, used to make bread, said Bekele Abeyo, a senior scientist and wheat breeder at CIMMYT.

What was particularly disconcerting for the scientists was that digalu had been bred with inherent resistance to certain strains of stem rust and another wheat disease called “yellow rust” or “stripe”.

The fact that the fungus has been rapidly mutating has prompted scientists to study the two cases with a view to helping with the preparation of new wheat varieties.

David Hodson, a senior scientist with the Global Cereal Rust Monitoring Program at CIMMYT, says the analysis presented on the German outbreak showed “there were some clear specific differences between the races present in Germany compared to Ethiopia, although the races were similar and fitted into the same race group.”

In Ethiopia, he said, the season had also been favourable for rusts, with above-average and well distributed rainfall – conditions similar to those in 2010 when wheat crops there were affected by yellow rust.

However, said Hodson, “the key factor was the presence of a suitable host and the appearance of a race that was able to attack this host.”

Flath said the big question on the German outbreak was whether it “was a unique situation or if it will repeat this year” – particularly because they had had a rather mild winter, so the spores might have survived.

She reckons a changing climate will “definitely” favour this thermophilic fungus. In the last two years two new aggressive variants of the yellow rust-causing fungus have made huge inroads in central and northern Europe.

Defence

Fungicides are the first line of defence. A longer term solution is replacing the world’s entire wheat varieties with those that contain several minor rust-resistant genes, which are pooled together to counter the infection, giving them an edge over single rust-resistant genes in combating various mutated variants of the fungus. Digalu contains single rust-resistant genes.

There are 20 new stem-rust-resistant varieties of wheat available. But getting the new seeds to farmers has been a problem, mainly due to poor distribution networks and cost.

Industrialized countries have an edge in terms of resources, said Flath. But even developing countries, realizing that food security is at stake, are beginning to make massive investments, says Abeyo. For instance, after the outbreak in Ethiopia in 2010, the government invested US$3 in fungicides, which helped contain the fungus in 2013.

With global wheat supplies vulnerable to changing weather patterns, Abeyo says developing countries are realizing the need to become self-sufficient in grain.

“Countries are now making the investment in infrastructure and research to develop better varieties.” But they still have a long way to go. Better partnerships with the developed world in sharing information and skills to monitor and protect their crops are also proving to be effective, he added.

jk/cb

RELATED REPORTS
All wheat varieties will have to be replaced
Two new wheat varieties offer hope against stem rust
Mutant wheat killer on the prowl
Another strain of deadly wheat fungus in South Africa

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The INDEPENDENT, 09 April, 2014

CAHAL MILMO Author Biography CHIEF REPORTER

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/bananageddon-millions-face-hunger-as-deadly-fungus-decimates-global-banana-crop-9239464.html?dm_i=1ANQ,2D17K,6LPWNX,8KL1J,1

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Disease spreads from Asia to Africa and may already have jumped to crucial plantations in Latin America

Scientists have warned that the world’s banana crop, worth £26 billion and a crucial part of the diet of more than 400 million people, is facing “disaster” from virulent diseases immune to pesticides or other forms of control.

Alarm at the most potent threat – a fungus known as Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4) – has risen dramatically after it was announced in recent weeks that it has jumped from South-east Asia, where it has already devastated export crops, to Mozambique and Jordan.

A United Nations agency told The Independent that the spread of TR4 represents an “expanded threat to global banana production”. Experts said there is a risk that the fungus, for which there is currently no effective treatment, has also already made the leap to the world’s most important banana growing areas in Latin America, where the disease threatens to destroy vast plantations of the Cavendish variety. The variety accounts for 95 per cent of the bananas shipped to export markets including the United Kingdom, in a trade worth £5.4bn.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will warn in the coming days that the presence of TR4 in the Middle East and Africa means “virtually all export banana plantations” are vulnerable unless its spread can be stopped and new resistant strains developed.

In a briefing document obtained by The Independent, the FAO warns: “In view of the challenges associated with control of the disease and the risk posed to the global banana supply, it is evident that a concerted effort is required from industry, research institutions, government and international organisations to prevent spread of the disease.”

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An aircraft sprays fungicide over a plantation (Getty Images)

 

Scientists are particularly concerned about the impact of TR4 across the developing world, where an estimated 410 million people rely on the fruit for up to a third of their daily calories.

According to one estimate, TR4 could destroy up to 85 per cent of the world’s banana crop by volume.

Since it emerged in the 1950s as the replacement for another banana variety ravaged by an earlier form of Panama disease, Cavendish has helped make bananas the most valuable fruit crop in the world, dominated by large multinational growing companies such as Fyffes, Chiquita and Dole.

But the crop – and many other banana varieties – have no defence against TR4, which can live for 30 years or more in the soil and reduces the core of the banana plant to a blackened mush.

It can wipe out plantations within two or three years and despite measures to try to prevent its spread from the original outbreak in Indonesia, it is now on the move. Such is the virulence of soil-based fungus, it can be spread in water droplets or tiny amounts of earth on machinery or shoes.

Professor Rony Swennen, a leading banana expert based at Leuven University in Belgium, said: “If [TR4] is in Latin America, it is going to be a disaster, whatever the multinationals do. Teams of workers move across different countries. The risk is it is going to spread like a bush fire.”

Another senior scientist, who asked not to be named because of his links with the banana industry, said: “There are good grounds for believing that TR4 is already in Latin America.”

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Professor Rony Swennen, leading banana expert based at the University of Leuven

The Panama fungus is just one of several diseases which also threaten banana production, in particular among smallholders and subsistence farmers.

Black sigatoka, another fungus to have spread from Asia, has decimated production in parts of the Caribbean since it arrived in the 1990s, reducing exports by 90 to 100 per cent in five countries.

READ MORE: WHERE SEEDS OF THE FUTURE ARE GROWN

Researchers say they are struggling to secure funding to discover new banana varieties or develop disease-resistant GM strains.

Professor Randy Ploetz, of the University of Florida, said: “The Jordan and Mozambique TR4 outbreaks are alarming but have helped increase awareness about this problem.”

But the large producers insist the problem can be controlled. Dublin-based Fyffes, which last month announced a merger with America’s Chiquita to form the world’s largest banana company, said: “While we continue to monitor the situation, as of yet we do not foresee any serious impact for UK banana supplies.”

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A lab holding the World Banana Collection at the University of Leuven A lab holding the World Banana Collection at the University of Leuven

The Cavendish: A top banana under threat

When the world banana industry found itself in crisis in the 1950s, it was saved by a fruit cultivated in Derbyshire and named after a duke.

The Cavendish banana was grown by the gardener and architect Joseph Paxton while he was working for the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House.

Paxton managed to acquire one of two banana plants sent to England in around 1830 and began growing the fruit in the stately home’s glasshouses. He named his banana Musa cavendishii after the 6th Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish.

The Chatsworth bananas were later sent to Samoa and the Canary Islands, providing forerunners for the variety which emerged in the 1950s to succeed the Gros Michel or Big Mike – the banana sub-species wiped out by an early version of Panama disease between 1903 and 1960.

Cavendish is now the world’s single most successful – and valuable – banana, accounting for 47 per cent of all cultivated bananas and nearly the entire export trade, worth £5.3 billion.

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Dust blows tumbleweeds against a fence east of the Comanche Power Plant near Pueblo, Colo. Chris McLean/The Pueblo Chieftain/AP

P. Solomon Banda,
Associated Press
POSTED WEDNESDAY APR. 09, 2014 05:25AM EST

 

Mini-storms of tumbleweed have invaded the drought-stricken prairie of southern Colorado, blocking rural roads and irrigation canals, and briefly barricading homes and an elementary school.

Firefighters even had to cut a path through them to get to a pregnant woman who feared she’d be trapped in her home if she went into labor.

The invasion of the tumbleweed, an iconic symbol of both the West’s rugged terrain and the rugged cowboys who helped settle it, has conjured images of the Dust Bowl of 80 years ago, when severe drought unleashed them onto the landscape.

“It never ends,” said Chris Talbott, as he used a snow shovel to push the weeds off his lawn into a stack on the street in Colorado Springs.

The latest drought, which began in 2010, has created tumbleweed trouble in parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Desiccated Russian thistle, a woody leafy plant, and kochia, both invasive weeds from Eurasia, are the culprits.

In Colorado, herds of cattle would eat the tumbleweed, helping to keep it in check, but many ranchers in recent years have reduced or gotten rid of their animals because of the drought. After the first winter freezes in November, the plants broke loose and began rolling with the wind.

“They looked like sheep running across the prairie because the whole prairie was alive,” Ordway rancher Doug Tecklenburg said of a March 15 wind storm. He’s taken to driving with a pitch fork in his truck to get through clogged roads.

For municipal authorities, there’s a big price tab for that tumbleweed.

Crowley County, high plains country of ranching and farming east of Pueblo in southern Colorado, has spent $108,000 since November — more than a third of its annual budget — clearing roads and bridges of tumbleweed to make sure residents and emergency vehicles can move.

It’s labor-intensive work. “Gathering tumbleweeds is like gathering kindergarteners with a bunch of balloons and trying to keep them in one location,” said Russell Bennett, a county roadman employed by Crowley County.

El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs, has spent $209,000.

Aside from the roads, the tumbleweeds have buried cars and blocked houses in new developments on the outskirts of Colorado Springs.

Officials have tried to attack the tumbleweed with snow blowers and rotary attachments on tractors used to cut crops like alfalfa. They’ve even tried to bale it for cow feed. But the wiry, springy weed clogs machinery, and baling is too expensive to be economical.

Given the cost, at least three Colorado counties — El Paso, Crowley and Pueblo — are considering local states of emergency that would allow them to seek financial help from the state.

At his county commission office, Allumbaugh played for a reporter a song called “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” — popularized by Gene Autry’s 1935 film of the same name — and said that people often think of it as they dismiss tumbleweeds as a harmless bit of nostalgia of a wide-open West.

He said he has even drawn snickers when he mentions that the county has a “tumbleweed emergency.”

“What we have is not funny,” he said.

 

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NTV/NEBRASKA.TV

Posted: Apr 07, 2014 10:52 AM CDT
Updated: Apr 07, 2014 10:52 AM CDT

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Investigators from the state Department of Agriculture are on the lookout for pest-ridden potato seeds in an effort to protect Nebraska’s potato industry.

Two of the state’s three potato inspectors recently quarantined nine boxes of potato seeds at a Lincoln True Value hardware store because the store’s owners didn’t have paperwork needed to prove the seeds were free of the Columbia root-knot nematode worm. The pest eats roots of plants like grasses, legumes and cereals.

Ag Department spokesperson Christin Kamm says they take seriously the need to protect Nebraska’s potato industry.

 

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FARMERS GUARDIAN

6 April 2014 | By Barry Alston

THE Welsh Government is being urged to do more to prevent the further spread of invasive non-native species across Wales.

“Climate change is making the threat all the more acute,” according to Mid Wales Assembly Member and Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Environment and Rural Affairs, William Powell.

“While some progress has been made by engaging community groups on specific projects such as removing Himalayan Balsam from rivers in North Wales, there is still a great deal of work to be done across Wales,” he says.

“Sadly much of this work is being hindered by the Welsh Government’s policies towards the Welsh countryside and farmers, especially in upland regions.

“The drastic lowering of upland support in Pillar 1 of the CAP is feared to result in abandonment which would open the door to invasive species such as rhododendron, which was previously the case in Snowdonia, and greatly damage the rural ecosystems.

“It is essential Natural Resources and Food Minister, Alun Davies, heeds the call for a dedicated Uplands ANC scheme as part of the next Wales Rural Development Plan,” added Mr Powell.

“Rural Wales is also still facing the threat of extended open access to some of the most delicate areas and habitats.

“The Welsh Government needs to realise that allowing people free rein to cross any farmland as they please is dangerous, and potentially damaging to crops and livestock. It is also likely to lead to the further spread of invasive species.”

 

http://www.farmersguardian.com/home/latest-news/non-native-species-potentially-damaging-crops-and-livestock/63542.article?dm_i=1ANQ,2D17K,6LPWNX,8KKWS,1

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BY MATTHEW JONES
Friday 4th April 2014, 01:49 London

Whangarei again the site of incursion, only months after authorities deemed another discovery an isolated incident

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New Zealand’s fresh produce industry is again on high biosecurity alert, after the discovery of a second Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly) in Whangarei within three months, according to media reports.

The New Zealand Herald claimed the discovery was made in a surveillance trap located just 400m from where another Q-fly was detected in January. In that instance, heavy restrictions were place on fruit and vegetable trade in the region while a large-scale response operation, involving close to 50 quarantine officials, was undertaken.

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industry’s (MPI) does not believe the two cases are related, after the investigation into January’s incursion determined it was an isolated incident, with no breeding population of Q-fly. A new control area has been established, with the movement of fresh produce around Whangarei again restricted.

“As in January, it is vital we find out if the insect is a solitary find or if there is a wider population in Whangarei,” MPI spokesman Andrew Coleman told SkyNews. “This insect is an unwanted and notifiable organism that could have serious consequences for New Zealand’s horticultural industry and home gardeners. It can damage a wide range of fruit and vegetables.”

January’s two-week response operation cost New Zealand taxpayers almost NZ$1m (US$850,000). New Zealand Green Party biosecurity spokesman Steffan Browning said this week’s discovery questioned the validity of the January campaign and the country’s biosecurity systems in general.

“Given that the last fruit fly was found in the same region only a few months ago it seems likely there is a connection,” Browning told the New Zealand Herald. “If it is the case that this fruit fly is linked to the previous incursion, then it raises serious concerns about MPI ending their January campaign early, before ensuring there were no other fruit fly in the region.”

Kiwifruit Vine Health chief Barry O’Neil said the discovery posed a low risk to the region’s kiwifruit crop, with no orchards within the control area.

http://www.fruitnet.com/eurofruit/article/161150/new-fruit-fly-discovery-in-nz

 

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<137>ANONYMOUS<137><137><252><137> | FILE PHOTO <137>ASSOCIATED PRESS<137>
An adult emerald ash borer

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/03/4934824/climate-change-controversy-might.html#storylink=cpy

April 3
BY DAVE HELLING
The Kansas City Star

Like many homeowners, I have ash trees in my yard. And, like many homeowners, I’ve spent the last 18 months picking at the trees’ bark, looking for signs of the dreaded ash borer now plaguing urban forests across the country.

So far, so good. The clock is ticking, though.

So imagine my dismay when stories recently surfaced about an invasive, nearly invisible bug killing walnut trees. There’s no treatment, apparently, and no cure.

Argh! I’ve got walnut trees too.

Mature trees are the single most important feature in a neighborhood. Everything else — sidewalks, doors, roofs, fences — can be quickly repaired or replaced if damaged by ice or wind, albeit at some cost.

Only time can replace a dead tree.

No one knows for sure if the growing threat from ash and walnut tree pests is related to our changing climate. Some people, in fact, believe the climate isn’t really changing at all, at least in any long-term sense.

But most scientists will tell you something is going on, something that’s leading to droughts, floods, stronger storms, rising sea levels and perhaps invasive pests as well.

Not to mention lightning, which decided to rearrange some of the electrons in my house Wednesday.

More than 700 scientists said this week that the changing climate is likely to increase disease, hunger and conflict in the decades ahead. Other experts have reached similar conclusions.

Some think human activity is causing climate change. Others say the phenomenon reflects the planet’s normal cycles, oscillating between warm and cold eras. Still others say it’s a combination of the two.

But disagreement over the cause for climate change has made addressing the problem very difficult. There have been halfhearted attempts to reduce pollution in some countries, but climate change has been slowed only at the margins.

Congress once discussed financial incentives for reducing pollution, but that talk vanished years ago. Just this week Sen. Roy Blunt, who has said climate change is real, co-sponsored an amendment requiring 60 Senate votes to even consider a tax or fee on carbon emissions from any “direct or indirect source.”

Perhaps a global response isn’t possible. Some scientists think severe climate change may now be unavoidable — our children, and their children, may simply have to adjust to a warmer, stormier world.

For climate change, as for my walnut trees, there may now be no cure.

If you see any monarch butterflies this spring, grab your phone and take a picture. Your great-grandchildren will appreciate it.

To reach Dave Helling, call 816-234-4656 or send email to dhelling@kcstar.com.

 

 

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