Benefits of biocontrol
Val Orchard from ERMA explains how new organisms are sometimes used in New Zealand to control the levels of other organisms.
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New organisms can help to get rid of unwanted organisms, this is biocontrol. Can you think of any examples of biocontrol?
Val Orchard (ERMA): An important area of activity for us is biocontrol – this is where we are looking at some animals to control something else. And because we've got so many pests in New Zealand, we are looking actively to see whether we can find some biocontrol for some of the weeds.
So we do look at importing organisms, usually insects that will chew the leaves, or chew the roots, or chew the bugs, or will eat the seeds of some of these plants. So bringing biocontrol agents in, we look at the risks and the benefits. Clearly a benefit is that they will chew the weeds, but what else will they chew? And that’s a good example of wanting to bring a new organism in for some real benefit.
On the biocontrol side, we have just approved some biocontrol agents that will chew up Californian thistle – I'm sure you will be quite pleased about that.
- 27 November 2007
- Quicktime video
- The University of Waikato