Scientists release new allies in the battle against invasive yellow toadflax in the Rocky Mountains

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Yellow toadflax in the field (credit Pixabay)

A team of international scientists are collaborating to fight the noxious weed yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) in Montana’s world-famous Rocky Mountains with the help of a tiny insect – the shoot-galling weevil Rhinusa pilosa.

Yellow toadflax, first introduced from Wales in the late 1600s as an ornamental and medicinal plant and to make textile dyes, is an aggressive invader listed as a noxious weed in more than 10 US states (including North and South Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Idaho) – which suppresses desirable vegetation through intense competition for limited soil moisture.

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App-based agriculture for a tech-savvy farmer

By Teddy Searight

Plant clinic Zambia tablet
The use of mobile technologies in African agriculture continues to grow. Photo: David Ng’ambi

Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa is undergoing a digital revolution bought about through the advancement and increasing availability of mobile technologies. Improved affordability has placed mobile devices in the hands of more African’s than ever before, with 444 million subscribed users in 2017. Take Tanzania for example where the average cost of mobile phones has fallen by more than half in five years to just over $100 today.

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Story maps: visualizing multimedia development communications

By Teddy Searight

SILT map
SILT project story map

The famous statistician, Hans Rosling, used to say the aim is to go from numbers to information to understanding.  This is the essence of how data should be used, shared and presented.

Data can be presented in many different ways but maps are perhaps the best way of visualizing spatial information. As technology has progressed since the early Turin Papyrus Map produced by the ancient Egyptians in 1160 BCE, humans have been developing and refining how we model our environment to improve our understanding of complex information. Continue reading

Taking action on invasives and youth unemployment in Zambia

By Teddy Searight

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Tibonge Mfune sampling fall armyworm larvae to survey for natural enemies in Zambia.

Youth unemployment is a significant economic and social burden for Zambia. So too is the impact of invasive species on agricultural production and the natural environment.

Are these mutually exclusive challenges, or can youth unemployment and tackling agricultural challenges, such as invasive species, be effectively positioned together to deliver jobs, food security and sustainable agriculture?

 

 

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When a Hollywood star came to CABI

By Teddy Searight

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Left: Harry Evans, CABI, Right: Kal Penn, Hollywood actor and presenter

The online market place goliath, and newly emerging leader in film and TV programme production, Amazon, visited CABI’s centre in Egham, UK to shoot footage for a new Amazon Prime Original series called This Giant Beast that is the Global Economy.

The globe-spanning docuseries brings the smart, stylized storytelling of Adam McKay’s The Big Short to a quirky and compelling exploration of the global economy.

With comedian and actor Will Ferrell as Executive Producer the eight part docuseries takes a deep dive into the murky, worrying and, at times, funny side of our interconnected world. During the third episode dedicated to the rubber industry, CABI’s expertise on rubber leaf blight is featured to explain how a little fungus could possibly bring down the global economy.

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What’s it like doing a PhD with CABI?

By Teddy Searight

In this Q&A article we hear from three PhD students who have collectively spent over 11 years studying at the CABI Switzerland centre in Delémont working with scientists there to improve the monitoring and management of invasive species in Europe and Africa.

Find out from Judith Stahl, Benno Augustinus and Theo Linders about what they did, who they worked with and what’s in store after CABI.

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CABI on cotton (part 2): The famous farmer and The compost king

By Teddy Searight

CABI on Cotton part 2 Shahbaz 2

In part one of ‘CABI on cotton’ we heard about 100 Pakistan cotton farmers, as part of CABI’s Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), attending a seminar on integrated pest management. In part two, we hear a couple of success stories from farmers on how taking part in BCI is helping them produce better cotton.

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