Danielle Frohlich, a botanist with SWCA's Honolulu office, served this year with the European Union’s European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization, or EPPO, in an ongoing effort to conduct pest risk analyses on invasive alien plants that could become established in the region. The agency’s scientists serve 51 countries in Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, and work to protect native plants and agriculture, develop international strategies against the introduction and spread of dangerous pests, and promote safe and effective pest control methods.
Frohlich, an invasive species program specialist for SWCA, has more than 14 years of experience in the fields of invasion biology, plant taxonomy, ecology, and research, with specific focus and expertise in the Hawaiian Islands. She received her master’s from the University of Hawaii and is SWCA’s expert on invasive species for Hawaii’s Statewide Noxious Invasive Pest Program (SNIPP). Frohlich was invited to join the EPPO panel in January because of her knowledge of two potential threats, Lygodium japonicum (Japanese climbing fern) and Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge). Both species are invasive in Hawaii, pose threats to native species and agricultural systems, can cause erosion, and alter hydrology and fire behavior.
The EPPO panel assignment required Frohlich to travel to France twice during 2017 to confer with a small team of specialists at EPPO’s Paris headquarters for a series of pest risk analyses, or PRAs, which discuss the taxonomy, biology, pathways for introduction, and distribution of the species worldwide, as well as impacts in the regions of the world invaded by the species in question. Included in the PRA are models of how far the species could spread in the EPPO region if they were introduced and not controlled, and the potential distribution of each species under a worst-case scenario of climate change. Models showed that, exacerbated by expected climate change trends, Lygodium japonicum could spread across Europe, from Ireland and Britain to the Black and Caspian seas.
As a result of the panel’s work, both species were recommended for EPPO’s 2017-2018 list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern. Inclusion on the EPPO list imposes restrictions on the keeping, importing, selling, breeding and growing of the listed species. Member states are also required to take measures for the early detection and rapid eradication of listed species, and to manage populations that are already present in their country.