Photo focus on fighting invasive plants on Socotra Natural World Heritage site

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Bushera Ahmed Abdulla is able to identify and remove tiny prosopis seedlings before the invasive plant can take root.

In this photo special we turn the spotlight on members of the community in the Socotra Archipelago, Yemen – including Bushera Ahmed Abdulla pictured above – who are working together with invasive species experts from CABI to help rid the region of devastating Invasive Alien Species (IAS) including common pest pear Opuntia stricta and prosopis.

Dr Arne Witt, CABI’s Coordinator: Invasive Species, is providing guidance to the local UNEP/GEF team and in extension to the Environmental Protection Authority (Socotra branch), the Socotra Office for Agriculture, the Hadiboh District and the Socotra Governorate, in the implementation of a cactus eradication programme on the continental island group – designated a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site in 2008.

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‘Sowing the seeds’ for better cotton crops: a farmer case study

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Smallholder cotton farmer Mubarak Ali is reaping the benefits of CABI’s help and advice regarding the sowing of better quality seeds for more productive and profitable cotton crops.

Cotton is Pakistan’s largest industrial sector and is a principle cash crop to millions of smallholder farmers who rely upon it to earn their livelihoods.

However, per acre yield and the profitability of the crop is dependent upon the quality of the sown seed as part of the principles of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and proper crop management. Indeed, it is a sobering thought that the industry is losing between 10 to 15 percent of its value (around $350 million a year) through poor production, transport and storage practices.

Part of the problem stems from the poor selection of healthy seed with a high germination ratio. Usually in Pakistan, seed is available in local markets which are not properly checked by the agriculture department as well as by farmers for quality and germination before sowing. To break this mindset, CABI is trying to train farmers to follow a more scientific way, bringing about a change in their routine agricultural practices and adopting a better way to grow cotton.

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Phytosanitary Risk Management team share expertise at ESCON 2019

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Delegates at the International Conference on Environmental Toxicology and Health (ESCON) who met recently in Islamabad, Pakistan.

An entomologist from CABI’s Phytosanitary Risk Management (PRMP) team has participated in the International Conference on Environmental Toxicology and Health (ESCON 2019) held in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Muzammil Farooq, representing the PRMP team, participated in the event – organized by the Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University (CUI), Vehari campus – by giving a presentation entitled ‘Environment Conservation and Next Generation Pest Management Model for Cydia pomenella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) – Pakistan (Balochistan province) Perspectives.’

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Reaping the harvest: Sustainable tea production in India picture special

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Photo (Copyright CABI): India’s tea accounts for around 27 percent of the world’s tea production – but like all crops it is susceptible to attack from pests and diseases.

Recently CABI scientists revealed that India’s tea – which accounts for around 27 percent of the world’s tea production and where in 2016 exports of 232.9 mn kg were worth Rs 4,493 crore, could be protected from devastating crop pests with more environmentally-friendly and sustainable biological controls rather than an over reliance on pesticides.

In this photo special, we present a range of images taken at the Hoolungooree Tea Estate in Assam, India, which charts the process of the harvest including, when and where necessary, the need to apply pest control methods before the tea leaves are ready to go from field to cup for consumers around the world to enjoy.

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Taking action on invasives and youth unemployment in Zambia

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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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‘Cracking the code’ of woody weed spread with machine-learnt algorithms

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Machine learning algorithms have their origins in early ‘computers’ such as the German WW2 ciphering Enigma machine

A scientific tool which has its principles in early ‘computers’ such as the German WW2 Enigma machine – used to convey secret commercial, diplomatic and military communication – is helping to map the fractional cover of the woody weed Prosopis juliflora across the Afar Region of Ethiopia.

PhD Candidate Hailu Shiferaw from Addis Ababa University, who is being supervised by CABI’s Dr Urs Schaffner, Professor Woldeamlak Bewket (AAU) and Dr Sandra Eckert (Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern), has compared the performances of five Machine Learning Algorithms (MLAs) to test their ability at mapping the fractional cover/abundance and distribution of Invasive Alien Plant Species (IAPS) – particularly Prosopis which has already devastated an area equivalent to half of neighbouring Djibouti.

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Meet the ‘sorcerer’ and her ‘apprentice’ – just two of CABI’s trailblazing female scientists

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Suzy Wood and Dr Carol Ellison are just two female scientists at CABI playing their part towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

To mark the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science today (11 February 2019), we take a look at how two generations of female scientists are coming together to tackle non-native invasive weeds and help reduce environmental degradation

Meet the ‘sorcerer’ and her ‘apprentice’ Dr Carol Ellison, a plant pathologist at CABI, and Project Scientist and PhD student Suzy Wood who since 2011 has been learning her trade as an entomologist at CABI’s UK laboratories in Egham, Surrey.

Though Carol and Suzy practice different strands of biology, their fields of study do overlap when it comes to invasive weeds and their biological control and management.

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