Problem Definition

Invasive alien species (IASs) on islands have broad impacts across biodiversity, agriculture, economy, health and culture, which tend to be stronger than on continents. Across small-island developing states (SIDSs), although only a small number of IASs are widely distributed, many more, including those with greatest impact, are found on only a small number of islands. Patterns of island invasion are not consistent across SIDS geographic regions, with differences attributable to correlated patterns in island biogeography and human development.

The Cook Islands Ministry of Agriculture seeks approval for the release of the plan pathogen Puccinia xanthii Schw. (Pucciniales: Pucciniaceae) into Rarotonga for biological control (biocontrol) of the introduced plant cockleburr Xanthium pungens Wallr. (syn. Xanthium strumarium; Xanthium occidentale Bertol.) (Asterales: Asteraceae).

The Cook Islands Ministry of Agriculture seeks approval for the release of a gall-forming wasp Tetramesa romana and an armoured scale insect Rhizaspidiotus donacis into Rarotonga for biological control (biocontrol) of the introduced plant giant reed Arundo donax (Poales: Poaceae).

Invasive plants seriously threaten native habitats throughout the Pacific region, including the Cook Islands, where numerous invasive weed species of agricultural concern are also present.

An international team of scientists undertook a field study on Aitutaki and Mitiaro of Belkin’s Bitingmidge,