A risky business: predicting invasive species

In which we talk about identifying risk of pest species in light of climate change. Consider these events: a violent home invasion, a major earthquake, and being hit by a ball on a cricket boundary. Which of these are you most at risk from? Obviously this may depend a little…

An invasion of no consequence? Hieracium in tussock grasslands

Robbie Deans has been sacked as the coach of the Wallabies. Deans lost his job because he did not get the outcome that his employers, Australian rugby, sponsors or the Aussie rugby public wanted, namely a series win over the British and Irish Lions (in the first instance) and more…

Turning up the volume on nature

Whitewash head, awash with weedsOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon Most environmental problems of today are caused by people super-sizing nature. Too much CO2. Too much nitrate in lakes and streams. Too many fires. Too many invasions. These things are all part of nature’s music but we’ve turned up the volume…

Weta accommodation popular, long-drops included!

What is the plight of the Banks Peninsula tree weta, Hemideina ricta, the rarest tree weta in New Zealand? The Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust helped Lincoln University contact over 40 enthusiastic landowners keen to know if they had weta on their patch. The resulting Weta Watchers group has helped put…

Reining in a bolting horse, kiwi(fruit) style

wild kiwifruit Originally uploaded by Mollivan Jon There are a lot of doom and gloom stories in plant biosecurity in New Zealand. There are now more naturalised vascular plant species than native species and the invasion has yet to slow, fueled by the large diversity of ornamental garden plants. New…

The effectiveness of the gorse seed weevil and gorse pod moth

Ulex europaeusOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon Gorse (Ulex europaeus) is a prickly shrub that is the number one weed in New Zealand. Due to the favourable climate in New Zealand, in a short time gorse was producing a lot of seeds to store in the seed banks. To combat this…

Gorse seed production and viability

Gorse (Ulex europaeus) produces many seeds per season which can be viable for a long period, especially if the seed is buried underground. In the more temperate climate areas gorse has two reproductive periods per season. Craig Sixtus, who was studying gorse for his master’s degree, investigated gorse seed viability…

Our favourite plants, next generation’s weeds?

Kelly checks her cloversOriginally uploaded by Mollivan Jon New Zealand’s agricultural, horticultural, and forestry industries are battling an increasing number of weed species that reduce their productivity. Similarly, wildlands in New Zealand, like in many parts of the world, are coming under increasing pressure from invasive plants (weeds) that harm…