Recognizing the dangers of invasive species in the sustainable management of forests in Asia and the Pacific, the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network (APFISN) was established at the 20th Asia-Pacific Forest Commission Session in Fiji. The network’s substantive activities began with a workshop on the development of an Asia-Pacific Regional Strategy for Eucalyptus rust in October 2004.
Recently, the network has noted with concern the rapid spread of an invasive species, Brontispa longissima (coconut leaf beetle) in Asia. Many member countries of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) have been hard hit by outbreaks of the coconut leaf beetle. An Expert Consultation on coconut beetle outbreak in Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission (APPPC) member countries, organized in October 2004 by FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) recommended further regional collaboration in combating the coconut beetle problem.
The experiences and successes in handling the outbreaks of B. longissima provide valuable lessons for multidisciplinary approaches to managing invasive species whether in agriculture or forestry. It is increasingly evident that activities, whether with forestry or agriculture, are intimately connected and have profound effects on each other – whether with the movement of invasive species into an area, or solutions to the problems. This reinforces the view that such problems cannot be solved without the active collaboration of both sectors. With this as the background, APFISN together with the USDA Forest Service, FAO and the Asia-Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions (APAFRI) jointly organized this workshop.
The workshop was held from 22 to 25 February 2005 at the Que Huong Liberty 4 Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. The purpose was to share experiences among forestry and agriculture specialists in handling invasive species and to develop an Asia-Pacific strategy to work in a multidisciplinary manner to address invasive species management. This workshop comprised three days of technical presentations and discussions. One day was spent visiting a laboratory for rearing biological control agents and a field visit was conducted to observe the impact of biological control in bringing invasive species under check.
Participants came from 12 member countries of the APFISN: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. Resource persons were invited to enrich the discussions and learning experiences during the workshop.
While the workshop was of particular importance to those who deal with coconut pest problems, it was open to all individuals working in policy, research and operations relating to forest biosecurity, agriculture, quarantine and protection, including government officials, scientists, industry representatives and private-sector companies with significant forestry trading operations in the Asia-Pacific region.