We are good at killing pests. We are winning battles on offshore islands or temporarily holding the front on the mainland, but we are not winning the war on pests… yet.
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation want new tools, better tactics and grander strategy for the protection and security of our nation’s biodiversity. And they got them at the Pest Summit.
If you could put financial limits, logistic constraints aside what would you do to win the war on pests? In what ideas would you invest your research dollar to rapidly transform the war against pests in our favour?
This is the wishlist of 50 New Zealand scientists from the Pest Summit:
1. Larger scale pest management – existing tools applied on a massive spatial scale, necessarily requiring greater cooperation of communities.
2. Internationalise – facilitate and coordinate international contributions to solving our pest problem.
3. A dedicated pest agency – to achieve a nationwide coordinated, strategic and socio-politically efficient pest control program unconstrained by land ownership and tenure.
4. Advanced pest surveillance, detection and monitoring tools – the application and deployment of highly sensitive, remotely operated, independent, and low maintenance technologies.
5. Improved killing devices – to radically cut pest control costs and ramp-up operational efficiency towards greater certainty and scales of success, i.e., eradication.
7. Super-lures – chemicals so powerfully attractive to pests that they massively increase the vulnerability of pests to traps, especially when they are at low and invading densities.
8. Conservation behaviour – advances in our ability to manipulate pest animal behaviour.
9. Biological control agents – genetic manipulations of pests, or their parasites, so that pest populations self-destruct.
10. Mass mobilisation – harness the power of citizens and faciltiate their networking towards the single popular objective – pest-free communities.
Would you add anything else?
The 50 scientists supporting different ideas faced off in front of a ‘dragons den’ panel and then voted on their favourite three.
Which ideas do you think were most supported?