A pathway approach towards prevention of movement of pests and pathogens with live plants in international trade

Asian longhorn beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis. A pest of broadleaved trees from China that is frequently intercepted on wood packaging. It has established and caused damage to trees in several EU Member States and in two cities in the USA.
Asian longhorn beetle exotic pest alert (PDF-1721K)
Emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis. A pest of ash trees from China. Although this has not been intercepted, this has established in North America where it is causing severe damage and tree mortality to native elms. (Photo: David Cappaert, Michigan State University, www.forestryimages.org)
Emerald ash borer exotic pest alert (PDF-4140K)
Phytophthora ramorum
Phytophthora ramorum: the causal agent of sudden oak death in California. This pathogen affects understorey shrubs, such as rhododendron, where it proliferates and is easily transmitted to infect living trees in the vicinity.
Phytophthora ramorum exotic pest alert (PDF-184K)
More information about Phytophthora ramorum

The approach

Many forest pests, both insects and pathogens, have entered new lands via plants for planting (nursery stock).

At its inaugural meeting in Poland in July 2006, the IUFRO Unit decided to endorse a pathway approach to providing the scientific background and advice for regulators concerned with preventing movement of pests with live plants. This will be similar to that adopted for wood packaging material. Best management practices effective at preventing known pests will significantly reduce the risk of introducing unknown pests as well.

Recently, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) established an expert working group to develop an international standard for plants for planting.

The IUFRO Unit believes strong control of this important and diverse pathway is only possible through international agreement. An international consensus of scientists can provide critical support to the regulatory community as technical justification is needed to support the development of effective regulation.

Concept paper

The IUFRO Unit has, through a small group involving:

  • Kerry Britton - National Pathologist, USDA Forest Service Research & Development
  • Marc Kenis - Head of Forestry and Ornamental Pest Research, CABI Europe-Switzerland and
  • Shiroma Sathyapala - Team Manager, Risk Analysis, New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

prepared a concept paper on this increasingly important subject:

Recommendation of a Pathway Approach for Regulation of Plants for Planting (PDF-52K)

Please note that it is a statement of facts by concerned scientists, rather than a policy statement by any government.

How you can help

We hope you will help stem the tide of invasive forest pests. Here is what you can do:

  • Help us strengthen the paper with more global examples of forest pests introduced via trade in nursery stock.
  • Contribute through your research work to help develop mitigation strategies to reduce the movement of pests with plants for planting.
  • Send an endorsing cover note with the concept paper to your national plant protection organization representative most likely to influence the plants for planting standard.