Biological control of Old Man’s Beard
Clematis vitalba is a fast-growing vine that produces vast quantities of seeds and grows intensely as thickets over trees, shrubs and other vegetation. Due to its rapid growth rate and ability to form large clumps, the plant can quickly outcompete native biodiversity and is dangerous to forests which is why Clematis vitalba is classed as one of New Zealand’s most invasive alien plants. Current control methods include mechanical removal and herbicides. However, this project is investigating the potential of biological control using fungi from its native range to help control the weed.
Managing the pathogens threatening St Helena’s biodiversity and food security
St Helena’s endemic trees and insects are under threat, possibly due to introduced pathogens or changes to the range of endemic pathogens due to climate change. This project will survey and identify pathogens associated with tree death (including nursery-raised stock), and insect populations. Additionally, crop diseases will be surveyed and their management assessed. Methods developed through CABI’s Plantwise initiative will build capacity in diagnostics and management across all sectors, supporting growers, conservationists, and foresters. This will prevent further deterioration of the endemic ecosystem, increase food production and reduce the necessity to import food.