The twelve pests of Christmas (trees)

The Invasives Blog

For many, December means celebrating Christmas and a central part of that is a Christmas tree. Evergreen trees have been used in celebration for centuries. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews used evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life. Pagans worshiped trees, and Romans used evergreen wreaths during the festival of Saturnalia.

The trees commonly used as Christmas decorations come from the genus Picea which is made up of around 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the family Picaceae. Popular Christmas tree species include Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, and Norway Spruce.

The modern-day Christmas tree is thought to have started in 16th century Germany when Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. The Christmas traditions we know today were shaped by the Victorians, when the first Christmas tree was brought from Germany to the British royal household by Prince Albert in the 1840s. These days, around

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Is parthenium weed allergy problem worse than that of annual ragweed?

A small clump of field-growing parthenium weed plants approximately 80 days old
Photo Credit: S. Adkins

By Asad Shabbir

Parthenium weed and annual ragweed are closely related members of the Asteraceae, known for their high allergenicity. The detrimental effects on human health of the more temperate annual ragweed are very well known. However, those of the more tropical parthenium weed are less well known and in fact much more severe, affecting many tens of millions of people each year.

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Navigating ABS measures is ‘work in progress’

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In this guest blog special, Dan Leskien, Senior Liaison Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), considers how much work still needs to be done to implement Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) measures in respect of genetic resources…

I wish to commend CABI for its initiative to prepare and implement a policy on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) to work with their partners and various relevant communities to introduce best practice in compliance with relevant ABS measures of stakeholder countries.

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One health – human, animal, environmental and plant health

Do you give advice on poultry SD

Ahead of One Health Day tomorrow (3rd November 2018), Robert Taylor, CABI’s Editorial Director, explores the relationships between human, animal, environmental and plant health…

The ‘One health’ initiative launched in 2007 was designed primarily to break down the barriers between human and veterinary medicine, particularly for dealing with zoonotic diseases. The link between BSE and nvCJD, as well as the threat of new diseases like SARS and threat of old diseases like avian influenza made for a strong case that the health of humans and animals are inter-linked. Since then, ‘One health’ has been expanded to include environmental health as there are many examples of how human activity can harm the health of the environment, and how in turn, a polluted environment adversely affects human health.

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Illegal wildlife trade, it’s not all rhinos and elephants

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Global cooperation is needed to reduce the trade in illegally collected plants (Stokpic Via Pixabay)

This month London hosted an international conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, highlighting fresh commitments and funding to reduce international trade in threatened animal and plant species. October also saw the annual CITES meeting where compliance issues with trade regulations laid out by CITES are discussed and resolved.

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10 highlights from 10 years of the China-CABI Joint Laboratory

Wu Kongming, Joint Lab Co-Director (2008 – 2013) and Trevor Nicholls, CEO, CABI

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the Joint Laboratory for Bio-safety established by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and CABI.

A decade of cooperation and knowledge sharing through the Joint Lab has helped to address Chinese and global needs for food and nutritional security, food safety, greater innovation and sustainable development.

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Loved and loathed: the bitter-sweet attraction of the world’s cacti in sharp focus

Cochineal on cactus
A biotype of the cochineal, Dactylopius opuntiae, feeds solely on Opuntia stricta

Depending on which side of the fence you sit, cacti, in all its various forms, are either loved or loathed as ornamental delights or prickly pests that can devastate ecosystems, wildlife, and livelihoods.

The issue was in the spotlight recently when an article published on the BBC News Science & Environment website ‘Prickly cactus species ‘under threat’ brought the issue of the cacti’s plight in sharp focus.

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