ESA Annual Meetings Online Program

Australia’s weed biocontrol – where to now?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012: 11:30 AM
Summit (Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown)
William A. Palmer , Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Australia’s weed biocontrol – where to now? W. A. Palmer Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Ecosciences Precinct, GPO Box 267, Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4001. Since Australia commenced its weed biocontrol efforts against the prickly pear and lantana before World War 1, it has been a leader in this discipline with several outstanding successes, work on over 70 weed species and over 240 agents being released with very few ton-target issues arising. Two recent publications summarise this scientific and economic achievement. Several old biocontrol laboratories have recently been subsumed into new multidisciplinary research precincts that incorporate state-of-the-art quarantines and other infrastructure. These precincts will lead Australia’s future biocontrol program. The Ecosciences Precinct in Brisbane, Queensland, has now been operational for nearly two years. Since the opening of the new quarantine, four arthropod species are approved or close to approval for release in Australia. These are Plectonycha correntina (Chrysomelidae) for Anredera cordifolia, Hylaeogena jureceki (Buprestidae)for Dolichandra unguis-cati, Aceria lantanae (Eriophyiidae) for Lantana camara, and Eueupithecia cisplatensis (Geometridae) for Parkinsonia aculeata. These new precincts together with the retirement of a cohort of scientists, new targets and regulations for biocontrol, new international protocols protecting genetic material in native ranges, and the general issue of adequate funding for biocontrol all indicate that weed biocontrol in Australia is entering a new era which is certain to be most challenging.