From Monash.

David Low, General Manager at The Weed’s Network…….. Please view the new video on the importance of green space in schools from David Attenborough. Note the learning that takes place, and think about how incompatible that leaning is with the use of herbicides and pesticides in school green spaces – I am interested to learn of any schools that have a policy not to use toxic synthetic herbicides and pesticides on their school grounds. In WA, for example, a Schedule 6 herbicide poison called Bromoxynil that the MSDS notes can cause birth defects is allowed for use on school ground under State guidelines. Not good enough – we can do better.

Climate change may shift interactions of invasive plants, herbivorous insects and native plants, potentially affecting biological control efficacy and non-target effects on native species. Here, we show how climate warming affects impacts of a multivoltine introduced biocontrol beetle on the non-target native plant Alternanthera sessilis in China. In field surveys across a latitudinal gradient covering their full distributions, we found beetle damage on A. sessilis increased with rising temperature and plant life history changed from perennial to annual. Experiments showed that elevated temperature changed plant life history and increased insect overwintering, damage and impacts on seedling recruitment. These results suggest that warming can shift phenologies, increase non-target effect magnitude and increase non-target effect occurrence by beetle range expansion to additional areas where A. sessilis occurs. This study highlights the importance of understanding how climate change affects species interactions for future biological control of invasive species and conservation of native species. [Lu, X., Siemann, E., He, M., Wei, H., Shao, X., Ding, J. (2014). Climate warming increases biological control agent impact on a non-target species. Ecology , from the weedsnetwork. http://www.eventbee.com/v/chemfree2014

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