A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Friday, February 11, 2005
Posted 4:14 PM by Luigi
Fire ants a threat to biodiversity in French Polynesia
PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Feb. 10) – Fire ants have “already contaminated in a serious way” part of the island of Tahiti, according to a visiting entomologist who is studying the problem to try and find a solution. “Based on information we already have, we are going to make onsite visits to Supermahina, Mahinarma et Atima” in Tahiti’s north coast Commune of Mahina, said Dr. Hervé Jourdan an entomologist in New Caledonia. He works for the IRD (Institut de research pour le développement), a French public science and technology research institute under the joint authority of the French ministries in charge of research and overseas development. He said after inspecting Mahina his next visit would be to the adjacent Commune of Papenoo. The imported fire ant species “that is in the course of colonizing the planet” presents a real danger for French Polynesia, Dr. Jourdan said. “It’s a real nuisance for the biodiversity. Nothing’s left where there are fire ants. For an island li ke Tahiti, it’s a real worry, taking into account its high level of diversity.”
The fire ant report from Tahiti is the Little Red Fire Ant (Wasmania auropunctata), less notorious than the more aggressive Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) (Solenopsis invicta) which is already in Brisbane, California and probably the recent report in the news from Hong Kong is also RIFA. The former is already in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Is and also in Bougainville.Post a Comment
While they are various methods, mostly use of formicides available, to control fire ants, the first action suitable for the region is prevention of entry into islands or countries through stringent surveillance or reporting systems at possible ports of entry as well as through legislations, trade agreements which minimize risks of importing fire ants and other potential invasive species.
On the ground, PAPGREN members like Rosa can play a role by constantly looking out for these exotic ants and reporting to national quarantine or plant protection officers like Roy Masamdu of PNG NAQIA. Regionally, the Pacific Ant Prevention Plan (PAPP) has been developed as collaboration among several agencies to prevent the introduction of RIFA especially but is waiting funding to move it forward.
“The PAPP lays out the recommended procedures, organisation and measures required to achieve the goal. It includes objectives under two broad headings of entry and establishment. In addition, a number of actions have been identified that are likely to be required in order to meet each objective.
Prevention of entry measures required include:
• appropriate legislation, regulations or standards to deal with invasive ants pre-border and at the border;
• risk analysis that covers the region but which can be adapted for implementation to each country or territory;
• regional trade agreements which accommodate risks associated with invasive ants; and
• operational measures which can be applied to each territory and will actually prevent ants gaining entry.
Prevention of establishment measures required includes:
• a range of surveillance measures appropriate to quickly identify the presence of a new invasive ant in each territory;
• appropriate incursion response procedures and the capability to enact them;
• a regional public awareness strategy to ensure the ant species concerned have appropriate public profiles so the risks of their establishment are well understood by sections of the community; and
• an active research programme to ensure the measures used to prevent establishment have a sound scientific base and thus will have the greatest likelihood of success.
The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of The World Conservation Union (IUCN) is coordinating this project, with support from members of the Pacific Invasive Ant Group” including SPC and SPREP.
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.