• Myrtle Rust App

    Myrtle Rust App

Myrtle Rust Reporter: enhancing biosecurity surveillance capability

In response to the new threat posed by the invasive plant pathogen myrtle rust arriving in New Zealand, the Citizen-based biosecurity surveillance project team released their ‘Myrtle Rust Reporter’ app in the Apple and Google Play stores in late 2017. The app was codeveloped with the Northland Regional Council, Scion, Envirolink, Te Tira Whakamātaki and MPI. It represents a major effort on the part of the BioHeritage Challenge to help MPI with their 4.7 million biosecurity citizens’ initiative under Biosecurity 2025, and provides a fun and useful way for citizens to get engaged in important science observations. The app is bilingual (te reo Māori and English).

Myrtle rust is a major threat to many of New Zealand’s native species, including pōhutukawa, ramarama, northern and southern rātā, and mānuka, as well as to important plants in the horticulture sector, such as feijoa. The app is integrated with New Zealand’s foremost citizen science observation platform NatureWatchNZ.

Synthesis publication: preventing plant invasions via ornamental horticulture networks

Working with international colleagues, the Biosecurity networks project team examined how horticultural policy structures could be improved to prevent plant invasions. Ornamental horticulture is a primary pathway for invasive alien plant introductions worldwide.

The team critically appraised published evidence on the effectiveness of four policy instruments that tackle invasions along the horticulture supply chain: pre-border import restrictions, post-border bans, industry codes of conduct, and consumer education. Effective pre-border interventions rely on rigorous risk assessment and high industry compliance, whereas postborder sales bans become progressively less effective as invasive plants become widespread in a region.

Closing the plant invasion pathway associated with ornamental horticulture requires government− industry agreements to fund effective pre- and post-border weed risk assessments that can subsequently be supported by widely adopted and verifi able industry codes of conduct. This will ensure producers and consumers make informed choices, and will help the public to address plant invasions.

Hulme, P. E., G. Brundu, M. Carboni, K. Dehnen-Schmutz, S. Dullinger, R. Early, F. Essl, P. González-Moreno, Q. J. Groom, C. Kueffer, I. Kühn, N. Maurel, A. Novoa, J. Pergl, P. Pyšek, H. Seebens, R. Tanner, J. M. Touza, M. van Kleunen, and L. N. H. Verbrugge. 2017. Integrating invasive species policies across ornamental horticulture supply chains to prevent plant invasions, Journal of Applied Ecology, 55: 92-98.

Related content

Auckland Harbour. Image - Pike Brown
Biosecurity network interventions


Four human-assisted networks may play a part in the spread of pests, weeds, and pathogens.…

Myrtle Rust Reporter 


In response to the myrtle rust incursion Steve Pawson and his team have developed an app for observing…

The Myrtle Rust Reporter App is mobile and easy to use.
Mobile apps to keep New Zealand safe


Mobile technologies are being planned to help New Zealanders report suspected pest threats.…