Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Approval to use gall mite to curb old man’s beard

Approval to use gall mite to curb old man’s beard

The leaf-galling mite Aceria vitalbae may now be used to combat the pervasive weed old man’s beard, following a decision by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
Horizons Regional Council applied to the EPA to introduce the gall mite on behalf of the National Biocontrol Collective, comprised of 14 regional councils and the Department of Conservation.

“The Department of Conservation told our decision-making committee that old man’s beard is a serious environmental pest for which there are limited control options, especially where it is widespread,” says EPA General Manager of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms, Dr Fiona Thomson-Carter.

“And Horizons Regional Council submitted that some native plant species, especially in the central North Island, are heavily impacted by old man’s beard. It noted that in some places this weed has been dispersed by the wind, and has established on cliffs, cloaking vegetation and ultimately killing other plant species.”

Horizons spends more than $500,000 annually trying to eradicate old man’s beard, and five regional councils around New Zealand estimate they spend approximately $760,000 in total. Helicopter spraying of the most suitable broadleaf herbicide costs $1,500 per hectare.

Aceria vitalbae is a gall-forming mite,” explains Dr Thomson-Carter. “The galls it forms on host plants provide shelter for the mites, enabling them to multiply. The plant redirects resources into the galls, which reduces its capacity to flower, produce leaves, grow longer internode stems, and photosynthesise.”



While the leaf-galling mite may attack plant species closely related to old man’s beard, such as the exotic Clematis stans, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research told the EPA it is confident there would be no significant damage to non-target plants, such as native Clematis species.

Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research is the science provider for the application, and noted the formation of galls would assist in reducing the lateral spread of old man’s beard, and as a flow-on effect, potentially thin-out the canopy coverage and reduce shading of the undergrowth.

“Overall, the EPA concluded that native New Zealand plants are not at risk of attack by Aceria vitalbae. Spill-over attacks on exotic species within the same clade as old man’s beard are very unlikely, as ornamental Clematis and old man’s beard do not grow in the same areas,” Dr Thomson-Carter said.
“The decision-making committee noted the environmental benefit of reducing herbicide usage if biocontrol proved effective. This would lessen collateral damage on non-target plants and reduce the chemical burden on the environment,” she added.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

National Terrorism Threat Level Moves To Medium
Medium is defined as a terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occur. The new level remains higher than it was before the 15 March terrorist attack when the threat level was low. More>>

SCOOP COVERAGE: CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUES TERROR ATTACK


Environment Aotearoa 2019: Report Warns Environment In Serious Trouble

The report is jointly produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, and is a follow on from the last report in 2015.

The report says the way New Zealanders live and make a living is having a serious impact on the environment, and the benefits New Zealanders get from being in nature, though not measured or quantified, could be lost. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Scrapping The Capital Gains Tax

As PM Jacinda Arden said yesterday, there was no point in Labour bringing a proposal into the House that it didn’t have the votes to get passed. Looking back, maybe she always felt this outcome to be inevitable... More>>

ALSO:

City Rail Link: Billion Dollar Cost Rise (And Preferred Bidder)

The revised cost envelope for completing the entire Auckland City Rail Link project now totals $4.419 billion. The revised cost has yet to be endorsed by the project’s sponsors (the Crown and Auckland Council). More>>

ALSO:

Meth Scare: Debt Write-Off For HNZ Meth Testing Evictions

People living in Housing New Zealand (HNZ) properties who were wrongly evicted because of flawed methamphetamine contamination policies will have their related debts with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) written off. More>>

ALSO:

RNZ Report: Fears Grow For NZ Nurse Kidnapped In Syria

A New Zealand nurse working for the Red Cross was captured by Islamic State (IS) in Syria more than five years ago, and there are now public pleas for any information that could help bring her home. More>>

ALSO:

Streets Blocked In London: Climate 'Extinction Rebellion' Reaches Aotearoa

Across the world, thousands of people are taking part in a rebellion to avert climate, ecological and human catastrophe. This begins in Aotearoa New Zealand today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels