Clockwise from top, then centre:
- Vectors (Monochamus sp.);
- Pine wood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus mouth;
- Pine wood nematode male showing extruded spicule;
- Pine wood nematode female;
Ttracheae of Monochamus containing pine wood nematode.
Professor Manuel Mota, University of Evora.
Increased volumes of traded goods consequent on rapid transport systems by air, land and sea have brought with them associated risks from the transportation of pests between countries and ecosystems. Some of these pests are carried on plants or plant products and range from those that are visible on the substrate and others that are cryptic and well hidden from cursory inspection.
Although essential in making decisions to safeguard against international movement of plant pests, development of Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) techniques is still in its infancy, despite international collaboration within the context of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and Regional Plant Protection Organisations (RPPOs) world-wide.
This uncertainty is emphasised further when dealing with new pest infestations where knowledge of the risk factors may be limited and, hence, decisions on pest management are constrained and may not be the most appropriate. This is the case in Portugal where the discovery of pine wood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, has led to development of rapid pest management strategies that have, of necessity, been based on limited information and which make the task of managing the threat very difficult.
Refinements in the PRA process will aid this management requirement and increase confidence in assessing further risks and consequences of management actions applicable to Portugal and the rest of Europe.