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
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.
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
Stories of Impact
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Papaya mealybug invaded East Africa between 2015 to 2020. The pest causes 57%- 91% yield and £2,224/ha household economic losses annually and severely impacts the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. As a means of control, nearly 51% of farmers manage the pest using pesticides which harm insect biodiversity in addition to other non-target effects. Biological control is an ecologically friendlier approach that has controlled papaya mealybug elsewhere around the globe. This project aims to introduce Acerophagus papayae for classical biological control of papaya mealybug. Through this initiative, the project intends to improve the capacity of farmers and extension services to adopt climate-smart conservation biocontrol practices that interface with biodiversity conservation efforts and ultimately enhance food security.
Trade in mango, avocado, papaya and citrus within the East African Community region, the European Union and China at import and export levels have been rising. However, meeting the increasing demand is being affected by a number of crop pests and diseases. In East Africa, scale insects – mealybug pests such as Papaya mealybug and fruit tree mealybug – are impacting cultivation and yields. To tackle these pests and increase trade, CABI is working with partners to increase compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary requirements through improved surveillance and management of scale insect pests in East Africa.
The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is a pest that feeds on hundreds of fruit tree species, causing considerable damage. In the USA, costs to control the pest exceed $450 million per year. Global regions that climatically support the invasion of the Japanese beetle include central Europe where it is considered a high priority pest. This project is aiming to tackle the spread of the Japanese beetle by exploring the use of the parasitic fly, Istocheta aldrichi, as a classical biological control agent in Switzerland, where it arrived in 2017.
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Type Study brief
Published in Study Brief 45: Learning