papua new guinea

“Our protected area network across land and sea safeguards our precious and outstanding natural and cultural heritage. Together we manage these areas effectively for all the people of Papua New Guinea.”

The Pacific islands of Oceania cover almost 15% of the world’s surface and are characterised by a high degree of ecosystem and species diversity. The region is characterised by thousands of isolated small coral atolls and higher volcanic islands, which has led to the high diversity of species found today. In fact, the number of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth (endemic species) is extremely high - often up to 90% for particular groups. Often, these rare and endemic species are adapted to specialised habitats and limited to small areas of a few islands.

Biological control of weeds in Vanuatu began in 1935, with the introduction of the tinged Teleonemia scrupulosa to control Lantana camara. To date, nine biological control agents have been intentionally introduced to control eight weed species. Seven of these agents have established on their respective hosts while an eighth, Zygogramma bicolorata, an agent for Parthenium hysterophorus has only recently been released and establishment is unlikely.

The main outcome of the project was the control or significant reduction of chromolaena in most provinces of PNG. Areas that were once monostands of chromolaena have been converted back into subsistence farms, and plantations in which chromolaena was the main understorey species are now clear of the weed. This outcome was the result of the primary outputs of the project: (a) knowledge of the extent of the chromolaena problem and its impact of the livelihoods of smallholders, (b) an understanding of effective biocontrol agents and (c) significant capacity built in biocontrol of weeds.