Assessment of new biocontrol agents of Parkinsonia

Parkinsonia is classified as a “Weed of National Significance” due to its invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts.  Parkinsonia has invaded over 800,000 ha of rangelands and wetlands around Australia, and has major negative economic, production and sustainability impacts on northern pastoral   production systems. If left untreated, it displaces native vegetation and reduces access to land and waterways.  Current approaches to control rely on integrated approaches using mechanical and chemical options plus fire. Cost-effectiveness and lack of resources for adequate control are ongoing issues.

Previous research funded by MLA identified potential biocontrol organisms from Parkinsonia’s native range in southern and central America. A shortlist of the top potential biocontrol agents was developed following open field tests at Ebano, Mexico, and host specificity testing based at the USDA lab in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Assessment of new biocontrol agents of Parkinsonia project extended the original study by implementing detailed assessment of the most promising candidates of Parkinsonia in Australian quarantine, particularly in relation to their host specificity. The project was a key prerequisite step in the testing of potential control agents prior to their importation into Australia. The majority of host specificity research was done in Australia to gain access to Australian plant species of interest to the commonwealth departments of agriculture and environment who regulate the process for release of biocontrol agents.

For more details, please read the project summary and download a copy of the final report (B.NBP.0620) (PDF, 4.4 MB) from the Meat & Livestock Australia website.

When: 5 April 2010 to 31 July 2013

Contact: Dr Tim Heard

Collaborator: CSIRO

Useful links: Learn more about the project Development of New Biocontrol Agents of Bellyache Bush and Parkinsonia (NBP.0366) (PDF, 642.4 KB)