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Through our work with donors and partners, we are helping to manage the spread of invasive species, a problem that costs the world almost 5% of global gross domestic product or an estimated US$1.4 trillion per year

The challenge

Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people face problems with invasive weeds, insects, plant diseases and animals, which fundamentally threaten the economic growth supported by sustainable development.

Invasive species disproportionately affect vulnerable communities in poor rural areas, especially in developing countries, which depend on natural resources, healthy ecosystems, trade and tourism for their livelihoods.

Teaching children how to spot Fall armyworm
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Providing solutions

Recognising the urgent need for action to protect development and economic growth, we are tackling invasive species around the world. Through a range of projects, knowledge tools and our Action on Invasives programme, we help protect livelihoods and the environment.

We have worked on invasive species for over 100 years, developing practical ways of tackling the biggest threats. Our scientists are world leaders in biocontrol research – an approach that uses invasive species’ natural enemies, like insects, to control their spread.

We produce a range of dedicated knowledge tools on invasive species. These include information on how to prevent the spread of invasive species, how to detect outbreaks and best practice solutions for controlling invasives.

Our invasive species expertise in more detail

Through its global Action on Invasives programme, we are developing and implementing solutions for invasive species around the world, helping to protect 50 million poor rural households.

As experts in biocontrol (the use of living organisms, such as insects or pathogens, to control pest populations), we help farmers control crop pests in order that they can grow more and lose less.

The Invasive Species Compendium is open access and designed to support the work of everyone faced with the identification, prevention and management of invasive species around the world.

With over 800 years of collective experience in its ranks, CABI is successfully helping to control invasive species worldwide, including the devastating fall armyworm crop pest in Africa and Asia

Key contact

CABI has expertise in the prevention, early detection and eradication, and management of invasive species, in centres around the globe including our Swiss centre.

CABI In Kenya

Roger Day

Programme Executive, Action on Invasives

T: +254 20 2271000 E: r.day@cabi.org

Related Projects

Explore our database of recent projects from around the world

Asian hornet nest. Credit: Daniel Cherix (Lausanne University)

Fighting the yellow-legged Asian hornet in Switzerland

The yellow-legged Asian hornet, Vespa velutina nigrithorax, was first detected in central Europe in 2004 and has since established in many countries on the continent. This hornet is a predator of honey bees and other insects, threatening honey production, pollination services and biodiversity. With Switzerland facing the imminent invasion by the hornet, CABI was commissioned by the Swiss government to help with the preparation for the threat and the control of the first arrivals. This project aims to establish a monitoring system for the early detection of the Asian hornet, determine control strategies and use climate modelling to predict where in Switzerland the insect might settle.

Drones for desert locust control in East Africa

The desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria (Forskal), is arguably the most destructive agricultural pest, globally. During 2019 and 2020, the changing weather created conditions that are favoured by the desert locust for rapid reproduction and migration and led to the pest spreading through the Horn of Africa, East Africa, Arabian Peninsula, South West Asia and West Africa. It is estimated that over 25 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania will face acute food insecurity in 2020 due to the desert locust plague. This initiative tests the use of drones as a new technology to complement traditional desert locust management measures, including the development of Standard Operating Procedures for optimal use of the technology. The project is initially trialled in Kenya with the potential for scaling to other affected African countries.

Evaluating the mycoherbicide potential of a leaf-spot pathogen against Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is a highly invasive weed that impacts severely on native biodiversity and local infrastructure in its introduced range. Whilst chemicals are currently used to control the weed, this approach is costly and unsustainable. Biological control is an alternative method. The damaging leaf-spot fungus, Mycosphaerella polygoni-cuspidati, which attacks the plant in its native range was found not to be suitable as a classical biocontrol agent. However, the pathogen is considered to hold potential as a mycoherbicide. The aim of this project is to undertake proof-of-concept research into a potential mycoherbicide, in collaboration with the private industry.

Featured Publications

Papers and other publications that we hope you find enlightening

Plantwise: Monitoring Plant Pest Outbreaks Globally

DOI https://doi.org/10.1094/9780890546383.010

Type Book chapter

Published in Emerging Plant Diseases and Global Food Security. St. Paul: American Phytopathological Society.

Language English

Year 2020

Economic impacts of invasive alien species on African smallholder livelihoods

DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2017.01.011

Type Journal article

Published in A paper that analyses the threat that invasive species pose to agriculture and smallholder farmers in East Africa. In: Global Food Security.

Language English

Year 2017