Can eradication efforts keep up with growing invasive arthropod diversity?

18 September 2019

Due to global trade, invasive species are spreading worldwide. The spread of pests threatens food security and natural ecosystem integrity and drives up reliance on conventional broad-spectrum pesticides. To avoid, or reduce, the loss in food production, insect pests need to be controlled. 

Eradication programmes are the last point of intervention to avoid the long term costs associated with pest management. The online Global Eradication Database documents 811 government controlled eradication attempts against invasive arthropods since 1890, in 104 countries. 

This study, a collaboration between scientists at Plant & Food Research and colleagues in Better Border Biosecurity, is the first to analyse these programmes for trends in biodiversity to help understand the factors affecting the success and failure of programmes and equip decision makers with better information. 

The study found that there has been a huge increase in eradication programmes started in recent decades with a rapidly diversifying burden of the most severe threats. This represents a substantial and underestimated challenge for managers wanting to prevent the establishment of invasive species and points to the need for a shift in research focus to accelerate options with less reliance on insecticides or suffer future failure to eradicate the pests. 

Funding was provided by Plant & Food Research and Better Border Biosecurity.

 

Journal Reference:

Suckling, DM, Stringer, LD, Kean, JK, Baird, DB. 2019. Will growing invasive arthropod biodiversity outpace our ability for eradication? Ecological Applications. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1992

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