Originally from Japan, Japanese knotweed is a fast-growing plant species that is causing a great deal of damage in Europe and North America. This herbaceous plant forms dense, impenetrable thickets and its impacts are varied. Our scientists have already carried out a considerable amount of research in Europe and found both an insect and rust fungus that controls the plant here, so will adapt our research and ensure any native or important species in Canada are not affected.
Japanese knotweed is highly damaging. It spreads extremely quickly, preventing native vegetation from growing and has significant impacts on infrastructure. Current control methods rely mainly on chemicals. Research however has identified a tiny psyllid from Japan as a suitable and safe agent to control Japanese knotweed in the UK. The current aim of this project is to achieve establishment and impact of the psyllid on Japanese knotweed in the UK.
Himalayan balsam has rapidly become one of the UK’s most invasive weed species. A lack of natural enemies allows it to successfully compete with native plants for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, reducing biodiversity and contributing to erosion. Traditional control methods are inadequate. This project involves identifying an insect or plant pathogen that exclusively attacks Himalayan balsam, which can be released into the UK to control the plant while leaving indigenous species intact.
Start: 01/04/11 -End: 31/07/17
Plants from the Hedychium genus are widely loved and cultivated as ornamentals but a few are threatening delicate ecosystems in Hawaii, New Zealand, the Macaronesian Archipelago (Azores, Madeira and the Canaries), Brazil, Australia and La Réunion. We are researching natural ways to manage the plants where they have become invasive, which involves returning to their original home range in the North eastern Himalayan foothills to try to find damaging and specific insects and/or pathogens which may prove suitable for release in the invaded range.
Start: 01/07/18 -End: 01/07/21
One of the UKs most invasive plants, the fairy fern or floating water fern causes problems for anglers and water managers. It forms thick mats on the waters surface which can double in size in a few days, blocking out light and killing aquatic flora and fish. Fragmentation of the fronds makes control by mechanical means virtually impossible. This project involves researching and testing the use of a 2mm-long North American weevil Stenopelmus rufinasus as an agent to control the weed naturally.
Tutsan, native to Europe, was introduced to New Zealand but is now a major invasive species. In 2011, CABI’s Swiss centre was approached by Landcare Research to investigate prospects for the biological control of tutsan. Surveys in the native range revealed a suite of insects and pathogens. CABI’s laboratories in the UK are currently conducting research on strains of the rust fungus, Melampsora hypericorum, from Europe to assess their potential to control tutsan populations in New Zealand.
Start: 01/07/11 -End: 30/06/17