Mikania micrantha or mile-a-minute is regarded as a major invasive weed in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and is now the target of a biological control program. As part of the program, distribution and physical and socioeconomic impacts of M. micrantha were studied to obtain baseline data and to assist with field release of biological control agents. Through public awareness campaigns and dedicated surveys, M. micrantha has been reported in all 15 lowland provinces. It is particularly widespread in East New Britain, as well as in West New Britain and New Ireland. A CLIMEX model suggests that M. micrantha has the potential to continue to spread throughout all lowland areas in PNG. The weed was found in a wide range of land uses, impacting on plantations and food gardens and smothering papaya, young cocoa, banana, taro, young oil palms, and ornamental plants. In socioeconomic surveys, M. micrantha was found to have severe impacts on crop production and income generated through reduced yields and high weeding costs, particularly in subsistence mixed cropping systems. About 89% of all respondents had M. micrantha on their land, and 71% of respondents had to weed monthly. Approximately 96% of respondents in subsistence mixed cropping systems used only physical means of control compared with 68% of respondents in other farming systems. About 45% of all respondents estimated that M. micrantha causes yield losses in excess of 30%. These studies suggest that there would be substantial benefits to landholders if biological control of M. micrantha were to be successful.


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pp. 213-223
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