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Workshop on invasive plant biosecurity in the Western Indian Ocean islands

Written by Alan Tye Modified on the

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A regional workshop on invasive plant biosecurity was held from27 to 29 September 2017, at the Tampon campus of the University of Reunion.

The seminar, which was led by the EpiBio-OI project (CIRAD)in collaboration with the Inva’ZIles project (IUCN) and the IOC-Biodiversity project, both financed by the European Union, enabled the participants to discuss the problem of invasive plants in the SW Indian Ocean and to adopt a common position at a regional level. Twenty-five scientists, plant conservation managers, agriculture and forestry managers attended, from the Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Seychelles, and the French islands of Reunion, Mayotte, and the IlesEparses, along with 11 University of Reunion Masters students in their second year of studies.

The dissemination of information, in particular through the availability of databases and regulatory texts, was also at the heart of the discussions. A better knowledge of invasive species contributes to limiting their dispersal in the region, in particular by setting up a network of regional warning structures for early detection of a potential invasion.

The workshop resulted in the validation of a regional list of priority invasive introduced plants in order to define common actions.Preliminary studies have identified over 400 such species in the region. The workshop agreed on the need for regional coordination, leading to a network of experts in the region which could serve as a cooperative alert system. Since2012, the WIONIS (Western Indian Ocean Network on Invasive Species) has been established to promote the management and prevention of biological invasions in the region. This network currently has more than 330 members from the WIO and throughout the world.

At the end of the workshop, these recommendations were incorporated into and agreed on the charter of good conduct, to be finalized by the end of 2017. This mainly concerns a regional resolution on the modalities of international transport of invasive or potentially invasive plants.

Workshop participants visiting site of invasive plant management in the reserve at Notre Dame de la Paix, La Réunion.
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