The approach adopted enables the consortium to address weaknesses in PRA technology arising from the lack of direct knowledge of the ecological and socio-economic aspects of the introduction of a new pest. In the case of B. xylophilus in Portugal, there is an opportunity to develop Plant Health and regional pest management strategies at the same time as fundamental knowledge of the new pest-host plant association is gathered.
This has four principal, inter-related, benefits:
- The conclusions of previous PRAs on the pest organisms can be tested to assess existing methodology and assumptions and to provide limits under a "real" rather than a hypothetical situation.
- Refinements to PRA technology can then be developed, with particular emphasis on the principles of quantitative assessment of risk both a priori and, uniquely, a posteriori.
- Methods of survey, establishment of damage thresholds and management regimes can be developed directly from the improved knowledge base.
- The combined information can be used to study the implications for economic and environmental consequences of a new pest association with emphasis on choice of land use in forestry, agriculture and amenity contexts. This would form the basis for contributing to knowledge on the principles of risk management of value to the wider Plant Health sector and address directly EU concerns on the precautionary principle and the further development of WTO SPS discussions. This is particularly pertinent to development of new rules for international movement of Solid Wood Packaging Material (SWPM), which is almost certainly the main pathway of transfer of both PWN and its vectors in the genus Monochamus between countries.
The research programme is co-ordinated through a series of groupings that will work individually and collectively to deliver the main expected output:
Key: Pn indicates the Partner number