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
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Monday, October 10, 2005
Posted 3:15 PM by Luigi
USP joins fight against alien species
From the Fiji Times, October 10, 2005.
THE University of the South Pacific has joined an international network which aims to eradicate invasive alien species (IAS) which are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in island ecosystems.
USP is now part of the Pacific Invasives Learning Network (PILN) following there cent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Tarr.
Dr Craig Morley, of the Department of Biology, who is spearheading this initiative from the University end, explained that invasive species were a priority for Pacific Island Nations because islands were highly vulnerable to invasions that could result in catastrophic loss of biodiversity and affect other organisms.
"When an organism is accidentally orintentionally introduced into a new landscape or seascape, the consequences can be devastating, posing a large threat to agriculture, public health, tourism and other economic activities.
"Invasive plants and animals can spread unchecked, disrupting natural cycles and costing billions of dollars in damage as well as crowd out our native species.''
However, he pointed out that the relatively small size and isolation of Pacific Islands offers important opportunities for preventing new invasions and eradicating pest species.
"Although we are really vulnerable, we are also in a position to do something about it. For example here in Fiji we are in the process of trying to eradicate rats and cane toads which are invasive alien species. There are other islands in the region that have similar initiatives going on for other species but because we don't get to hear about this work we don't know about the success and failures,'' said Dr Morley. "In some parts of the Pacific, experienced conservation professionals have developed model programmes to prevent, eradicate or control certain high-priority invaders, such as rodents, feral animals and invasive weeds.
"However, according to the Global Invasive Species Programme, in most Pacific Island countries, there is a profound lack of awareness about invasive alien species and an almost complete absence of capacity to deal with these pests. For example, the mongoose - many people in Fiji have grown up with them and don't take much notice of them. But this is where we, the members of the network come in, to inform them and provide them with the tools to take control of the situation.''
Dr Morley explained that the reason behind the setting up of PILN was to empower effective IAS management through a participant-driven network that met priority needs, rapidly shares skills and resources, provides links to technical expertise, increases information exchange, and accelerates on the ground action.
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