Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Invasive Alien Species - MALAYSIA (Pt 2)

Invasive Alien Species (IAS) as define by the National Invasive Species Council as an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm to human health. Most countries are signatories to one or more international agreements that include provisions for the protection of biodiversity from the negative impacts of Invasive Alien Species (IAS). . IAS is an introduced species and established in areas outside its natural distribution of an area or country. Under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Malaysia as one of the signatory nation and is committed to develop national strategies, plans or programs for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity resources. In Malaysia, the spread of IAS had caused enormous economic and environmental losses such as reduce agricultural productions, harm to human health and destroyed of scenic view. Alien species introduced into the local habitats had caused threats to native species and its ecosystem and their occurrences ranged from various taxonomic groups that include viruses, bacteria, fungi, mosses, invertebrates, fi sh, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. As globalisation and transportation becoming more rapid, expanded opportunities are being provided for plants, animal and microorganisms to move beyond their natural range. Some of the alien species do not harm species, habitats and ecosystem and instead provide signifi cant benefi ts for farmers, traders and nation’s economy. However, some species may become invasive and can be costly for industries, competent authorities, site managers and society as whole. Some impacts on the biodiversity and ecological functions may be irreversible. Thus, the issue and threat of invasive alien species are very real and signifi cant as exemplifi ed by cases such as Papaya Ring Spot Virus, papaya Dieback, Coco Pod Borer, Diamondback Moth, Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome (EUS) and Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) and many others. They have incurred losses to the agriculture industry amounting to millions of Malaysian Ringgits.

The spread of invasive alien species is creating complex for reaching challenges that need to address through concerted effort among the competent authorities. The action plan proposed on IAS in Malaysia will provide continued efforts to increase the awareness and information to the various stakeholders on the importance of alien species and ways to tackle them in balancing conservation and management 
of the resources with continued economic growth. I wish to congratulate the National Working Group for coming up with the Action Plan for Invasive Alien Species and urge all players in this fi eld to come forward and together strive towards achieving the targets and goal of the CBD Program of Work to ensure of the continued sustainable use of the national biological resources. Finally I look forward to the successful implementation of the action plan along with continuing and strong financial support from the Central Agencies of the Government of Malaysia. This article in "Anim Agro Technology". I would to share the information about IAS based on DOA's report.

Status of IAS in Malaysia
There are several incidences IAS invading this country. These incidences had great impact to the agriculture economy affecting crop production, fi sheries and livestock. However, the impact to the biodiversity is not well known judging from feedback of stakeholders. Some of the important IAS that had been establish in Malaysia are: 

8. Virus Disease of Honeybees
Sacbrood is a virus infectious disease that affects the brood of honeybees. Before 1994, indigenous bee, Apis cerana indica has been reared in wooden boxes to produce honey and there was no incidence of sacbrood disease reported. However in early 1994, Apis cerana cerana which is more productive than the native bee was imported from Southern China as a way to improve local honey production. The  importation has indirectly introduced sacbrood disease among the indegenious bee. It caused the colonies to collapsed. Loss of bees and colonies could lead to loss of income and pollination of plant species.

9. Water Hyacinth (Echhorrnia crassipes)
This plant is a native of Amazonian, Brazil. It was fi rst brought into Singapore from Hong Kong in 1963. In Malaysia this weed thrive in still or slowly moving waters. It propagates very rapidly by seeds and offsets and now a serious threat to irrigation and drainage canals and all aquatic environments. It is the world’s most serious water weed and its dominance could bring about reduction or elimination of other species.
10. Barnyard Grass (Echinochloa crus-galli) 
Barnyard grass, locally known as rumput sambau is said to be a native of Europe and India. It was detected in 1925 and suspected to be introduced unintentionally through contaminated seed. Since then, the weed has spread and becomes the most important weed in all rice growing areas. Barnyard grass is the most serious weed in all rice growing areas. In direct-seeded rice fi eld, both weed and rice seeds germinate at the same time, but this weed grow faster and mature earlier. In dense stand of the weed, the rice tillers are reduced by up to 50%, thus the yield will severely reduced.
11. Siam Weed (Chromolaena odorata)
The siam weed, Chromolaena odorata is native to Central America and tropical South America. It is a weed throughout Southeast Asia. The species was introduced into Malaysia from Thailand, since then it has become widespread in coconut growing areas in Peninsular. Presently, the weed is widely distributed in all crops growing areas. However, the presence is not extensive and posing no threat to the crop as they are easily removed by digging, uprooting or slashing.

12. Itch Grass (Rottboellia cochinchinensis)
In Malaysia, it is believed to have been introduced from Thailand. It was fi rst detected in the state of Perlis in 1980 bordering Thailand. The weed was observed to be abundant along a small stream, around swampy areas and ponds in the plantation. In 1985, the weed had spread to about 80 ha of sugarcane and spread throughout the plantation by 1992. It could establish in other crops such as groundnuts, cassava, citrus, rice, papaya and pineapples. Its rapid growth and spread makes it a very competitive and diffi cult to control. At present, it is a serious weed of sugarcane cultivation.
13. Parthenium Weed (Parthenium hysterophorus)
Parthenium weed (Parthenium hysterophorus), an invasive and obnoxious weed, is native to Mexico. It has invaded many countries including India, Australia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka and caused disastrous ecological and economical losses. In India, the weed has been rated as the “worst weed” of the century. Lately, this weed has been discovered in Hulu Yam, Batang Kali, Selangor. The weed was found growing in open places, areas adjacent to the wall of some vegetable farms or in small bushes and along the Sungai Liam river. The presence of this weed was fi rst reported by Dr S. M. Rezaul Karim, professor, Faculty of Agro-based Industry, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan in September 2013.

14. Golden Apple Snail(Pomacea canaliculata) and 
Black Apple Snail (Pomacea insularus)
Apple snails (Pomacea spp.) is indigenous to South America, fi rst introduced to Taiwan in 1980, Japan in 1981, Philippines in 1982 and Thailand in 1986 for commercial purposes. It has been illegally brought into Malaysia for the same purpose. It was fi rst detected in fi shponds in Puchong and Subang, both in Selangor in 1991. The snail species found in Puchong identifi ed as P. insularus, while in Subang as P. canaliculata. Initial control measures aimed to contain and eradicate the snails were unsuccesful . Currently these pests has spread throughout the country. Continue to read articles in Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4. Thanks!.
M Anem, 
Senior Agronomists,
Federal Agriculture Center,
Serdang, Selangor,
(15 Syawal 1435H)

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