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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Invasive species information resources

CABI's invasive species and livelihoods website

As a result, we have created a website which highlights some of the most damaging species, the impacts on the lives of smallholder farmers in Africa and South East Asia and links through to more detailed information from our Invasive Species Compendium.

CABI's invasive species compendium

Providing free access to up-to-date datasheets, records and information, CABI curates and manages the Invasive Species Compendium. This database is a comprehensive resource for those working in the field of invasive species management from identification, economic assessment and management of invasive species around the world.

CABI's invasives blog

CABI's invasives blog provides you with stories about our research and debates on topical issues in the field of invasive species from CABI's scientists from around the world.

Azolla Control

Azolla is one of the most invasive plants in the UK today. CABI rears and supplies weevils that control and are made available to those managing water bodies including land owners, English Nature, British Waterways and the Environment agency.

Japanese Knotweed Alliance

The Japanese Knotweed Alliance website gives you information about our project in Great Britain and the release of the psyllid, Aphalara itadori to help stop the spread of Japanese knotweed - 

Our Himalayan balsam website provides information about this problematic weed and our search for a biocontrol agent - 

Our project work

We deliver a range of research and development projects that are solving major invasive species problems around the world. Through our work, we provide long-term and sustainable benefits.

Japanese knotweed by a road

Case study: Invasives species in Great Britain

Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) can have a detrimental effect on biodiversity, crop production and livelihoods across the world, and Great Britain is not exempt. This case study highlights some of the most troublesome invasive species in Great Britain and what they are costing the country.

Demonstrating the cost of invasive species to Great Britain (PDF)

Describing pest damaged cassavsa

Case study: biological control of invasive species 

Non-native invasive species, such as insect pests and weeds, have a huge impact on livelihoods, food production and biodiversity around the world. CABI tackles this issue by using classical biological control which provides a sustainable and cost-effective control method and minimizes the use of pesticides. In this case study, we outline three examples from programmes where CABI has played a role, and provide results from a further five studies. 

Safeguarding the environment, food security and livelihoods from invasive species using biological controls (PDF)

UK weed biocontrol updates

Weed biocontrol projects update

Defra is funding CABI to investigate the biological control of invasive, non-native aquatic and riverside weeds. This could help protect habitats where chemical and mechanical control are impractical or prohibitively expensive; and to help meet requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive. 


CABI responds to EU proposals to regulate Invasives

The EU has recently (September 9, 2013) drafted Regulations to protect member states against the adverse impacts of Invasive Alien Species (IAS). 

Read CABI's response to the proposals 

Himalayan balsam 

Himalayan blasam video

This video gives you an in-depth view of the detrimental effect of the invasive weed Himalayan balsam on the British countryside and how CABI is employing biological pest control methods in order to combat it.

filming in the farming community of Gilgil

Invasive species in Africa
The 'Green Invasion – Destroying Livelihoods in Africa' shows the extent of weed infestations with accounts from community members on how they are impacting on traditions, cultures and a way of life for millions of people on the continent.

 Floating pennywort

Floating pennywort
CABI scientists have published a new paper in Aquatic Botany detailing the effect of floating pennywort's natural enemies. G. C. Walsh, M. Maestroa, R. ShawM. Seier, G. CortatD. Djeddour (2103) Persistence of floating pennywort patches (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, Araliaceae) in a canal in its native temperate range: Effect of its natural enemies. Aquatic Botany  Volume 110, October 2013, Pages 78–83

 Invasive species in Africa

Invasive species book

Written by Gordon Boy and CABI's Arne Witt, this book provides an account of how a multi-country 'war on weeds' project has contributed to improved management of Invasive Alien Species in Africa. The book provides an account of how the major barriers to invasive plant management were largely overcome in Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia during a five–year UNEP-GEF funded project. 


About CABI's invasive species work in Asia
CABI's Arne Witt talks about our ongoing work with the Joint Lab China and national Governments to prevent and manage the spread of invasive species throughout Asia.

Watch Arne Witt outline our Asia invasive species work

Himalayan balsam infographic thumb

New paper and infographic: Himalayan balsam and its impact on UK invertebrates
A paper by CABI scientists details the results and discusses the implications for habitat restoration.

Biological control of brown marmorated stink bug

International trade is a common way for insects to ‘hitch-hike’ their way to new countries. The brown marmorated stink bug, originally from East Asia, has become a harmful invasive pest of many fruit and vegetable crops in North America and Europe. Biological control using Asian or European natural enemies may be an environmentally friendly,... >>

Controlling noxious Russian knapweed in the North America

Russian knapweed is one of several invasive plants of rangelands that arrived in North America as a seed contaminant in the 19th century, in this case from Asia. Biological control is often a good approach for these plants, but a nematode species introduced in the 1970s proved ineffective against Russian knapweed. Funded by a US and Canadian... >>

Locating a biological control for tutsan in New Zealand

Tutsan, native to Europe, was introduced to New Zealand but is now a major invasive species. In 2011, CABI’s Swiss centre was approached by Landcare Research to investigate prospects for the biological control of tutsan. Surveys in the native range revealed a suite of insects and pathogens. CABI’s laboratories in the UK are currently conducting... >>

Azolla control

One of the UK’s most invasive plants, the fairy fern or floating water fern causes problems for anglers and water managers. It forms thick mats on the water’s surface which can double in size in a few days, blocking out light and killing aquatic flora and fish. Fragmentation of the fronds makes control by mechanical means virtually impossible.... >>

Controlling wild ginger

Plants from the Hedychium genus are widely loved and cultivated as ornamentals but a few are threatening delicate ecosystems in Hawaii, New Zealand, the Macaronesian Archipelago (Azores, Madeira and the Canaries), Brazil, Australia and La Réunion. We are researching natural ways to manage the plants where they have become invasive, which involves... >>

Biological control of Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam has rapidly become one of the UK’s most invasive weed species. A lack of natural enemies allows it to successfully compete with native plants for space, light, nutrients and pollinators, reducing biodiversity and contributing to erosion. Traditional control methods are inadequate. This project involves identifying an insect or... >>

Establishing the psyllid: field studies for the biological control of Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is highly damaging. It spreads extremely quickly, preventing native vegetation from growing and has significant impacts on infrastructure. Current control methods rely mainly on chemicals. Research however has identified a tiny psyllid from Japan as a suitable and safe agent to control Japanese knotweed in the UK. The current aim... >>