Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Conservation strategy for palm groves: optimal chemical control model for red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus.

Abstract

Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier, 1790) is an invasive pest species that constitutes one of the most important problems around the Mediterranean region and has been responsible for the loss of over 100,000 palm trees with an estimated annual cost of EUR several hundred million since its introduction into Europe. Methodological approaches of conservation ecology, such as multidisciplinary modelling, also apply in the management of cultural landscapes concerning ornamental plants, such as palm trees of the area. In this paper, we propose a dynamic model for the control of the red palm weevil, contributing in this way to the sustainability of an existing cultural landscape. The primary data set collected is a sample from the density-time function of a two-cohort pest population. This data set suggests a bimodal analytic description. If, from this data set, we calculate a sample from the accumulated density-time function (the integral of the density-time function), it displays a double sigmoid function (with two inflections). A good candidate for the analytical description of the latter is the sum of two logistic functions. As for the dynamic description of the process, a two-dimensional system of differential equations can be obtained, where the solution's second component provides the analytical description of the original density-time function for the two-cohort population. Since the two-cohort waves appear in all three cycle stages, this reasoning applies to the subpopulations of larvae, pupae and adults. The model fitting is always performed using the SimFit package. On this basis, a mathematical model is proposed, which is sufficiently versatile to be of help in the control of this pest species in other geographical areas.