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Abstract

The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae), is native to Asia but has been intentionally introduced to many countries as a biological control agent of pest insects. In numerous countries, however, it has been introduced unintentionally. The dramatic spread of H. axyridis within many countries has been met with considerable trepidation. It is a generalist top predator, able to thrive in many habitats and across wide climatic conditions. It poses a threat to biodiversity, particularly aphidophagous insects, through competition and predation, and in many countries adverse effects have been reported on other species, particularly coccinellids. However, the patterns are not consistent around the world and seem to be affected by many factors including landscape and climate. Research on H. axyridis has provided detailed insights into invasion biology from broad patterns and processes to approaches in surveillance and monitoring. An impressive number of studies on this alien species have provided mechanistic evidence alongside models explaining large-scale patterns and processes. The involvement of citizens in monitoring this species in a number of countries around the world is inspiring and has provided data on scales that would be otherwise unachievable. Harmonia axyridis has successfully been used as a model invasive alien species and has been the inspiration for global collaborations at various scales. There is considerable scope to expand the research and associated collaborations, particularly to increase the breadth of parallel studies conducted in the native and invaded regions. Indeed a qualitative comparison of biological traits across the native and invaded range suggests that there are differences which ultimately could influence the population dynamics of this invader. Here we provide an overview of the invasion history and ecology of H. axyridis globally with consideration of future research perspectives. We reflect broadly on the contributions of such research to our understanding of invasion biology while also informing policy and people.

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Abstract

Shifting from scientist-led top-down approaches in agricultural development to participatory approaches putting farmers and their knowledge in the center requires scientists and farmers to play new roles, changing social relationships between them, and among farmers themselves. Using mainly qualitative data and analysis, this paper reports social impacts (social relations, social empowerment and sharing of IPM information, and sustainability and institutionalization of IPM) for vegetable producers in an integrated pest management (IPM) project using farmer field schools (FFS) in Cotonou. Forty-three vegetable producers were chosen for semi-structured interviews. The project led to social empowerment of the vegetable producers and initiated a process of creation and sharing of IPM knowledge and building of social relations within and between the vegetable gardens. The participants realized they were sources of information for each other, and IPM knowledge was shared without the benefit or restriction of social networks. However, this study revealed several factors hindering the development of improved social relations among the vegetable producers and between these and the scientists and steering committee members, which in turn may result in lack of continuation and institutionalization of IPM activities. To overcome these obstacles, this research suggests that similar IPM-FFS projects encourage (1) a transparent selection process, (2) improvement of the Trainer of Trainers’ facilitation skills for better quality FFSs and improved sharing of complex information like agro-ecosystem analysis and beneficial insects, (3) building trust and confidence between the participants and scientists, (4) giving the ToT participants, community organizers and farmer organizations ownership of the project by giving them responsibility for creating post project plans to spread and institutionalize IPM of IPM-FFS activities and (5) facilitating the participants during and after the project in improving social relations and accountability. The results also draw lessons on how scientists and vegetable producers have or should have changed their roles to sustain and institutionalize IPM, such as the scientists and project leaders need to focus even more on their interactions with vegetable producers, enhancing their role as facilitators in initiating equitable processes of sustaining and institutionalizing IPM in the vegetable gardens.

Abstract

The solitary parasitic wasp Lysiphlebus testaceipes, is a species native to North America. The species has a broad aphid host range and has been accidentally spread or introduced as a biocontrol agent to many regions of the world. In Benin, L. testaceipes is a newly found species, and it is the dominating primary parasitoid of aphids on vegetables.

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Abstract

Dispersal of alien species, plant pests and other organisms through trade with living plants and plant parts increases with globalisation. Every year a significant amount of horticultural plants for use in urban landscapes and private gardens are imported to Norway from several other European countries. The last decade the amount of such import to Norway has doubled, while the resources allocated for phytosanitary control of this goods on arrival has not had a similar development. Trees and bushes for outdoor use pose a special risk for carrying unwanted stowaways since they are mostly produced outdoors in the export country and are in addition frequently exported with a lump of soil from the production site. After arrival in Norway the plants are dispersed quickly to all parts of the country where they are sold to private and official buyers. The quick handling of this material makes it easy for an organism to stay alive and have the opportunity to establish in the new environment. A study was carried out in 2006 to aiming to find out more about this trade, particularly emphasizing on identifying species of insects and arachnids that were suspected to pass through the national control system. Mattilsynet, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, is the National Plant Protection Organization of Norway, and perform random sampling of imported plant commodities of this type. Unfortunately, there is practically no surveillance on the introduction of species that are not on the quarantine pest list, and the standard control routines fail in detecting and rejecting plant commodities that contain non-quarantine species. In this study it was mainly searched for insects and arachnids, but snails and slugs, millipedes and other organisms were also found. The plant species sampled were mostly conifers, of which Thuja sp. and Taxus sp. were the majority. Conifers turned out to be excellent in providing shelter and hiding places for small organisms. Three sampling methods were used: 1. Shaking method, 2. Visual observation and 3. Sampling of the compost fallen off the consignments during the transport. The last method added most species to the list. In only six samples of compost investigated as much as 93 different species were identified. During a short period of sampling 1193 individuals were collected travelling as stowaways mainly from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. 156 species were identified and additional 26 organisms were identified to the genus level.

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Abstract

The western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), is a highly polyphagous species with a host range including over 250 species of herbaceous and woody plants belonging to 62 families. F. occidentalis originates in western USA but has spread, since 1970, into many countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Europe and Oceania. In southern regions of Europe the pest is found outdoors attacking the flowers of a number of host plants. In northern European countries it is a pest mainly in protected crops (i.e. glasshouses) attacking a number of ornamentals and vegetables. F. occidentalis is a vector of Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and several other viruses. Both these organisms are regulated as quarantine pests in the EPPO region (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization). The first report of F. occidentalis in Norway was in 1986 and it spread very quickly within greenhouse environments. In 1987 the species was added to the A-list (quarantine pests with zero-tolerance on import to Norway) and a comprehensive spraying program to eradicate the introduced pest and stop further spread was developed. The thrips, however, continued to spread and in 1991 about 40% of all greenhouses in Norway were infested with F. occidentalis. A plan of action (Trips-aksjonen) to combat and eradicate F. occidentalis from Norway was executed in 1991. In spite of extensive efforts by growers and authorities they did not succeed in eradicating or stopping further spread of F. occidentalis. In 1997 the species was considered established in Norwegian greenhouses and it was therefore deleted from the Norwegian A-list. It is now under surveillance as a vector for TSWV (an A-list pest) and is treated as a quarantine pest if discovered in connection with TSWV. The introduction and establishment of F. occidentalis in Norwegian greenhouses has been a burden to both growers and the society. Growers have suffered financial losses in terms of costs of carrying out comprehensive quarantine instructions (1986-1996) as well as through direct crop loss and costs of control measures (1986-2006). Indirect economic impacts of F. occidentalis include the implications for growers due to the quarantine instructions (1987- 1996) such as increased labour to carry out the instructions; cost of pesticides; loss of production time during the quarantine and eradication period; loss of contracts when not able to deliver plants and seedlings on time; loss of reputation; and perhaps as a combination of the others also loss of future contracts. Growers have also suffered in terms of health risks as they have used pesticides more frequently and thereby been exposed to pesticides more often. Very rough estimates and assessments to predict potential crop loss caused by F. occidentalis suggests a worst case scenario (or 100% crop loss) to be about 1454.4 mill NOK per year (2003-numbers). Assuming that the proportion of infested greenhouses at any given time during the year is somewhere between 30-40%, then potential crop losses would be between 436-582 mill NOK per year. It should be underlined that these numbers are rough estimates only, not accurate measurements. Introduction/establishment of the species has resulted in an increased effort from extension service, phytosanitary authorities, and scientists, the costs involved are, however, difficult to assess. […]