Benxi
This project is co-funded by the LIFE programme of the European Union
The Project
Project
Life SAMFIX

Our Mission Is to save forests from Xylosandrus invasions.

We study expansion pathways and develop early detection protocols and containment and eradication measures.
The Discovery

2016: both Xylosandrus beetles were spotted in and close to natural areas in French Cote d’Azur and Spanish El Pla de les Clotxes.

The invasion

September 2016: in Circeo National Park the first massive outbreak of both Xylosandrus compactus and Xylosandrus crassiusculus in a natural park.

The study

Scientists start studying expansion pathways and experiment early detection protocols and containment or eradication measures at small scale.

SAMFIX

2018 Project Samfix starts to contain and eradicate invasions.

Project Summary

In September 2016, in the Italian National Park Circeo, covering 7 SCI, the first massive outbreak of the Asian Ambrosia beetles Xylosandrus compactus (black twig borer) and Xylosandrus crassiusculus (granulate ambrosia beetle) was discovered in a European natural ecosystem.

These beetles dig galleries in young branches (X. compactus) and trunks (X. crassiusculus) of trees hosting symbiotic fungi. Infested trees can show wilting, branch dieback, shoot breakage and general decline. In the end, a diffused desiccation of the Mediterranean maquis can occur, as is currently shown in the Circeo Park on an area of 13 Ha.

X. compactus has previously been recorder in Italy’s Campania, Tuscany and Liguria, and recently emerged in France in Saint Tropez and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (2016) and in Antibes’ Botanical Garden of Villa Thuret (2017).

X. crassiuluscus has been first detected in orchards in Central-North Italy, and appeared in 2014 at Mont Boron near Nice and in 2016 in the biological reserve Ile sainte Marguerite near Cannes and in El Pla de les Clotxes, Benifallò in the Spanish Valencia regione.

The alarming damages in the Circeo Park, the increasing number of records along the Tyrrhenian coast, in or close to natural parks and the resulting vulnerability of many evergreen maquis species, brought scientists to study expansion pathways and experiment early detection protocols and containment eradication measures at small scale.

Objectives

SAMFIX aims to share and exploit these competences, finding and research efforts; to develop specific protocols and tools and trial them in a wide range of sites; to collect and assess herewith obtained data to better understand invasion pathways and routes, risks and efficacies, in order to achieve the following objectives:

  • – establish in and around 6 European detection sites in or close to natural parks effective protocols for prevention, early warning and rapid response, eradicating or containing current infestations and preventing future expansions.
  • – extend prevention and early warning protocols to 8 natural parks located in the surroundings of these sites to prevent expansions.
  • – disseminate knowledge on pathways and risks, and prevention, early detection and rapid response protocols amongst Mediterranean and EU bodies, networks and experts engaged in IAS policies and amongst natural parks managers to facilitate adoption of phytosanitary measures and replication of protocols to preserve Mediterranean forests and maquis landscapes.

Expected Results

Effective species-specific prevention, early warning and rapid response protocols for the containment of both Xylosandrus compactus and crassiusculus diffusion in European natural parks.

  • – 42.179 ha of natural and semi-natural environments protected by effective prevention and early warning  systems, of which 40.180 ha of relevant habitats in Natura 2000 sites (mostly Annex I-9340, 9540, 9320,5330).
  • – 80% reduction of invasive alien species in the project core areas (population/ha) and 0 expansion to other areas after 2020.
  • – Invasion pathways and invasion routes identified, clarifying if the current spread of both species proceeds from separate human-mediated introductions from the native range, from already infested areas in the Mediterranean of from natural spread.
  • – Guidelines supporting Pest and Pathway Risk Analyses completed, disseminated to competend bodies and usable for standardation of phytosanitary measures.
  • – Ascertained efficacy of novel IoT and remote sensing technologies in the field of Xylosandrus control.
  • – 120 local stakeholders (80%) in the project core areas – park managers and rangers, nurseries, orchard and garden owners, public inspectors – made aware of the invasion risks and needs for prevention and able to recognise signals of Xylosandrus presence and/or to monitor traps.
  • – 40 park managers and rangers of replication parks trained.
  • – 80% of park visitors made aware on IAS and their risks for biodiversity conservation; 10% engaged in citizen science activities.
  • – 1500 high school students made aware on IAS and their risks for biodiversity conservation and engaged in citizen science activities.
  • – At least 1000 citizens participated to inspection field visits; 40 local events organised in project core and replication areas, to which at least 2000 citizens participated and that were broadcasted by local regional or national media.
  • – 80% of natural parks around the Thyrrhenian Sea made aware on risks by direct mailing, participation to 4 project conferences or othere conferences where SAMFIX is presented.

Actions

  1. 2018

    1/7/2018            Project start
    19-20/7/2018    Kick-off meeting
    30/09/2018       Website online
    31/12/2018       Release of early version of protocols for stakeholders information
    31/12/2018       Geographic information system (GIS) ready
     
  2. 2019

    31/01/2019       Optimal lure blend and trap type defined
    03/2019              Trainings and information to project stakeholders
    01/04/2019       Start of the 2019 campaign: data platform and App, leaflets, protocols, trapping designs and Citizen-X-Science  and management plans ready
    04/2019              Inquiry on baseline citizens’ perceptions and behaviour
    30/04/2019       Trapping networks installed in all trial sites
    30/06/2019       Validated fast routine pathogenicity test ready
    10/2019              Installation of experimental restorations
    10/2019              Inquiry on citizens’ perceptions and behaviour after first campaign
    31/12/2019       Presentation of the midterm report with results of first campaign
     
  3. 2020

    04/2020              Trainings to staff of replication sites and first version of generalised prevention, early warning and rapid response protocols ready
    01/04/2020       Start of the second campaign in all trial sites leaflets, protocols, trapping designs and Citizen-X-Science  and management plans ready
    30/04/2020       Trapping networks installed in all trial sites
    05/2020              National conferences in Italy, France and Spain
    01/06/2020       Start of implementations in all replication sites, trapping designs ready
    31/12/2020       Pathway tests completed
    31/12/2020       Report on best practices for the integration of remote sensing and GIS spatial analysis into invasive species control and monitoring tools
  4. 2021

    28/02/2021       Harmonized database from multiple data sources ready for external and stakeholders use
    31/03/2021       Map of ecosystem service losses ready
    01/04/2021       Start of the third campaign in all trial sites: leaflets, protocols, trapping designs and Citizen-X-Science  and management plans ready
    30/04/2021       Trapping networks installed in all trial sites
    30/06/2021       Guidelines for Pest and Pathway Risk Analysis of Xylosandrus compactus and X. Crassiusculus delivered
    10/2021              Final inquiry on citizens’ perceptions and behaviour
    31/10/2021       Evaluation of impacts of Xylosandrus sp. and project activities on main ecosystem processes
    31/10/2012       Guidelines on ecosystem functions restoration
    30/11/2021       Evaluation of ecosystem service losses and social perception of changes in the natural areas
    30/11/2021       Final evaluation on the effectiveness of lures
    30/11/2021       Trap density and distribution final evaluation
    31/12/2021       Final prevention, early warning and rapid response protocols and training package
  5. 2022

    28/02/2022       Last local management protocols and plans for all areas ready