Invasive Species are the leading driver of biodiversity loss in the Pacific. They have a significant impact on ecosystem resilience leading to a loss of ecosystem services and a reduced ability to adapt to climate change. PRISMSS aims to assist the Pacific in stepping up on-the-ground management of invasive species.

Steps towards controlling weeds with Natural Enemies; Exlopre feasibility, survey weed in-country, select suitable agent, seek permission to introduce, seek permission to introduce, import rear and release, evaluate success of the project

Over 352 herbivores have now been intentionally introduced into new regions as weed biological control agents. Recent evidence shows that rapid and significant evolution in host specificity can occur. The risk of non target use by biological control agents increasing to unacceptable levels through rapid evolution therefore needs to be considered.

Biological control of weeds has been conducted since 1902, resulting in over 500 biological control agents being internationally released against nearly 200 weed species in over 90 countries.

A persistent problem in weed biocontrol is how to reliably predict whether a plant that supports development in laboratory host-specificity testing will be utilized in field conditions, and this is undoubtedly preventing releases of safe and effective agents.

Biological control of introduced weeds in the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) began in 1911, with the lantana seed feeding fly introduced into Fiji and New Caledonia form Hawaii. To date, a total of 62 agents have been deliberately introduced into the PICTs to control 21 weed species in 17 countries.

The introduction and naturalization of plant species outside their native range is likely to intensify with continuing globalization and increasing international trade. Although only a very small percentage of naturalized plant species become invasive the ones that do can have severe negative effects of individual vital parameters of native species, species richness and diversity agriculture and forest production, nutrient and fire cycles water availability and recreation and tourism.

Invasive species are a key issue for biodiversity and ecosystem resilience in the Pacific. This session will take you on a journey through the Pacific with 28 Invasive Species Battler’s, experts and donors. We will update you on the current state of invasive species in the Pacific, some of their impacts, some challenges and some solutions.