Comprehensive strategy for combating pests and plant IAS affecting habitat 9370*

Concrete Conservation Actions for Phoenix Palm Groves

This strategy includes the 3 phases (prevention, early detection and control/eradication) described in Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 on IAS. Pests threatening the endemic palm groves of Gran Canaria and Crete include mainly the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus) and the palm weevil (Diocalandra frumenti), although to date they have not been confirmed to pose a serious threat to Phoenix theophrasti in Crete. R. ferrugineus was officially eradicated in 2016 throughout the Canary Islands, and confirmation of this has been included in the project tasks. However, D. frumenti has spread widely in recent years and is the main target of the strategy in Gran Canaria. Invasive (or competing) target plants in both regions include species such as Arundo donax, Pennisetum setaceum -Cenchrus setaceus-, Acacia spp., Opuntia spp. and Agave spp. in Gran Canaria, as well as Eucalyptus spp. in Crete. The comprehensive pest and IAS strategy consists of the following activities:

  • Prevention: will be ensured through the combination of activities foreseen in other tasks, in particular: updating of regulations and other environmental governance activities (T.3.1), which will provide a reinforced context to prevent the introduction of the most problematic IAS and the collaboration of relevant actors (municipalities, public and private gardens, nursery and gardening companies, farmers); and contribution of citizen science, specific Working Groups and direct interactions (workshops, public events) with social actors, as described in WP6.
  • Early detection: one of the main actions involves the establishment of an "Early Warning Network for the detection of Diocalandra frumenti using sentinel pheromone traps" in Gran Canaria. The pilot network will be installed in the selected palm groves (especially in the Fataga SAC, since no propagation sources were confirmed in the Güigüí SAC during the last assessment in 2018), as well as in their surrounding areas. Once the methodology has been tested, its replication in other areas of the Canary Archipelago and in Crete will be proposed, through technical workshops and specific training (see WP5). This line is complemented by the participatory approach foreseen in other tasks (T.3.1) and in WP6, involving the Working Groups created and, in Gran Canaria, also through synergies with the RedEXOS initiative currently managed by GESPLAN. In Crete, early detection will mainly consist of direct monitoring in the field, as well as the collaboration of at least 15 stakeholders in the development of an early detection mechanism for the prevention of pests and fungal infections.
  • Control and eradication: as regards the pests considered, in Gran Canaria this will consist of phytosanitary treatments (plant endotherapy) and/or elimination of palm trees infected by D. frumenti in the areas of intervention and their surroundings. Dead or heavily affected specimens will be cut down and treated in-situ following a specific management protocol. In Greece all protocols on control/eradication of R. ferrugineus and D. frumenti will be transferred by the Spanish partners through technical training (see WP5). Regarding invasive and competing plants, they will be controlled and/or eradicated within and around the selected palm groves in both regions. In Gran Canaria, given the isolation of the project areas, interventions will mainly consist of manual removal (with the help of basic tools) or mechanical methods (with the help of light machinery). Chemical methods with permitted herbicides will generally be discarded so as not to affect either groundwater nor other native plant and animal species. Subsequently, maintenance and reforestation with native species will be carried out to avoid recolonisation of invasive plants.

Action status

It reflects the percentage of work done since the beginning of the action.