THE INVASIVE SHRUB <em>PIPER</em> <em>ADUNCUM</em> IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA: A REVIEW
Keywords:Bioinvasion, tropical forest, plant invaders, biodiversity, Pacific
Hartemink AE . 2010. The invasive shrub Piper aduncum in Papua New Guinea: a review. Piper aduncum is a shrub native to Central America. It is found in most Central and South American countries and also in the Caribbean and southern Florida (USA). In Asia and the Pacific, P. aduncum occurs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Micronesia, American Samoa, Niue, the Marianas, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands, Palau and Hawaii (USA). Piper aduncum arrived in Papua New Guinea before the mid-1930s. From the 1970s, it started to dominate the secondary fallow vegetation in many parts of the humid lowlands. It invaded grassland areas and also appeared in the highlands up to 2100 m asl. The seeds are dispersed by birds, bats and wind, as well as by logging equipment and in some localities, by migrating people. The combination of its vigorous generative characteristics (small and abundant seeds), high growth rate and the accidental or intentional spreading has resulted in its presence in most provinces of Papua New Guinea. In the 1990s, awareness of the spread of P. aduncum grew and there was a corresponding increase in research interest from a range of disciplines, e.g. pharmacology, agronomy, quarantine, forestry and taxonomy. The invasion of P. aduncum has affected the farming system and livelihood of many rural people. Future research should focus on mapping its extent, and studying its agronomic, socio-economic and ecological effects, particularly its effect on biodiversity.