In our rapidly changing biosecurity risk-prone and global operating environment with increased opportunities for pest species to breach their geographical boundaries, there is no room for complacency. People, animals, animal products, plants, and plant material from overseas can introduce new pests and diseases, potentially devastating not only Australia’s agriculture but also its pristine environment and unique wildlife.

Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture is about growing food in urban settings. This practice has been followed around the world for centuries and is usually prominent in poorer countries where it is driven by women. Food sovereignty is a fluid concept, with many definitions. Basically, it is about giving back to people the right over food from production to affordable consumption and everything in between. It is about control, and about connection to our foods.

Bees & Beekeeping

Australia is blessed with a pristine environment and clean, healthy honeybee stock. The highest risk to Australian honeybees is an external parasitic mite vectoring a range of diseases, the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor), which has established worldwide but is still absent from Australia. Unfortunately, Varroa is wide spread in neighbouring countries and will eventually reach Australian shores and this is why early detection programs are important.

Invasive plant species

The impact of invasive plant species on native ecosystems and agricultural productivity is considerable. In 2009, the cost of weeds in Australia was estimated at AUS$4 billion/year in control and lost production. Weeds, aquatic and terrestrial, impact on natural landscapes, agricultural lands, waterways and coastal areas. Many plants introduced in the last 200 years are now weeds, but not all of them are exotics: native plants can become invasive when they spread to new areas.

  • Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM)

IP(D)M can be defined as the selection, integration and implementation of pest and disease control based on predicted economic, ecological and sociological consequences. It’s a decision-based management that intends to reduce environmental, health and economic risks. It relies on a range of techniques and naturally occurring control agents (e.g. weather, disease-causing organisms, predators and parasites, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, use of resistant varieties) to anticipate damage. Practitioners use a broad knowledge base including entomology, plant pathology, nematology, crop science, soil science, weed science, ecology, breeding and selection, to implement a balanced and tactical approach. In other words, IPDM focuses on preventative management practices before relying on rescue treatments (i.e. pesticides).

  • Biological control

Australia is certainly one of the countries with the most interesting examples of both successful and disastrous biological control attempts. The impact of unnatural introductions into new environments is very difficult to predict and is now strictly regulated. Everybody knows about the devastating introduction of the cane toad to control cane beetles in North Queensland, however – there are many success stories we tend to forget. For instance, Coactoblastis cactorum was introduced in 1930 and successfully controlled the prickly pears (Opuntia spp.). The rust fungus Puccinia chondrillina successfully established on skeleton weed (Chondrilla juncea) and so did Aphidius ervi, a parasitic wasp of spotted alfalfa aphids. Several species of Southern African dung beetles were introduced and now control bush flies population in grazing areas.

  • e-learning & courses

We can assist with information and communication technologies in education. We can develop a range of courses as well as teaching material, presentations, workshops, keynotes and e-learning material (Articulate Engage) on a variety of topics relating to biosecurity, plant pathology, entomology, weed sciences, Integrated Pest and Disease Management, biological control, urban agriculture, food sovereignty and beekeeping. There are many advantages to online and computer-based learning. Self-paced e-learning material can be accessed anytime and anywhere. It is flexible and easy to use. Lectures and key notes can be prepared using a range of softwares. BSASP uses Articulate Engage. Colour templates, logos and delivery formats can be easily customized.

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