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Lauréline Humair

Biological control of tree of heaven

Tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima, is a deciduous tree native to north-east and central China and Taiwan. It was brought to Europe and North America as an ornamental, but became invasive and is now an invasive species of concern in many countries, including Canada. Once established, tree of heaven is difficult to control, with mechanical and chemical options being limited and expensive. Since 2020, CABI has been working with partners to coordinate options for biological control of tree of heaven in Canada.

Biological control of parrot feather in North America

Parrot feather, Myriophyllum aquaticum, is a very popular garden and ornamental plant and has a long history of invasion worldwide. It was first recorded in Canada in 1980 from British Columbia and has since been recorded in the Lower Mainland and in the USA. Parrot feather forms dense impenetrable mats which affect stream flow, resulting in reduced native species’ richness at local scales, reduced water quality and habitat quality for fish and wildlife, and impacts on human activities. Due to the negative impacts, management of this species is required and a sustainable option is biological control. A biological control programme against parrot feather is already well-developed in South Africa and this project aims to investigate the potential for use in Canada.

PlantwisePlus

Farmers’ crops are increasingly at the mercy of climate change, pests and diseases. PlantwisePlus will work to help countries predict, prepare for and prevent potential threats and reduce crop losses. We will provide comprehensive support to countries and farmers so they meet the increasing global demand for quality food in a changing climate.

Ensuring resilience of maize production and quality in a changing climate

Climate change is impacting on the agricultural sector in DPR Korea, with extreme weather events becoming more common. This has led to increased damage to the main staple crops, rice and maize. Maize in particular is vulnerable to damage in the field and subsequent colonization by toxin producing fungi. These toxins are an immediate and long-term hazard to health, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children. CABI is working with the Ministry of Agriculture, and key local stakeholders, to increase the resilience of the maize value chain to the impacts of climate change, and in particular reducing contamination by these harmful fungal toxins.

Promoting biodiversity in grasslands of the Swiss Jura

Swiss landscapes would usually be rich in biodiversity. But due to highly concentrated agricultural practices, the number of regional insects and plants found is declining. The Federal Swiss government is taking action and has introduced a scheme to promote ecological compensation areas that will encourage naturally occurring species. As part of this, CABI is working on restoring regional biodiversity in the Swiss Jura through seed transfer methods.