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Eradication of Prickly Pear in Australia

Nature volume 131, page 613 (29 April 1933) | Download Citation



STRIKING success continues to attend the efforts to eradicate prickly pear (Opuntia spp.) in Queensland and northern New South Wales, mainly through the introduction of Cactoblastis cactorum. By the end of 1930, some 3,000,000,000 eggs had been distributed throughout the length and breadth of the sixty million acres infested and by the end of 1931 the insect existed on practically every acre. To-day probably 80 per cent of the dense primary pear in Queensland has been destroyed, while in New South Wales the figure is 50–60 per cent if one excludes the Hunter Valley and Camden districts where climatic and soil factors are delaying, but not preventing, the progress of Cactoblastis. Queensland is energetically pushing a scheme of development of reclaimed land and already 1,515,000 acres have been re-selected for mixed farming purposes and 1,701,000 for grazing. Unfortunately, the sight of miles of dead and rotting cactus tends to create the impression in political circles that the problem is solved and that further expenditure upon intensive research work is not needed.

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