So, what's the problem
The number of alien invasive organisms in European forests is steadily increasing. The trade in live plants is recognized as a major pathway in the movement of forest pests and diseases. The trade volume is large and increasing, and many millions of plants are imported into Europe every year. Phytosanitary (plant health) inspections at the point of entry into Europe are an essential way of minimizing the number of introductions of harmful organisms, but with the number of shipments, and the number of plants within each shipment, being so large, only a fraction of the harmful organisms can be intercepted.
What is this project doing?
This project focuses on reducing threats from exotic pests through promoting enhanced pathway management. Our aims are to analyze the plants for the planting trade and their role in forest invasions, both in Europe and elsewhere, and to develop and propose new risk mitigation measures for woody plants.
Identifying the pathways for the international transfer of pests, including species identity, known hosts, origins and trade patterns, will hopefully enable the phytosanitary services to respond to the threat of current, known harmful species. It may also allow the development of generic procedures that could be applied to pathway management in a "manage once, remove many" approach which could also mitigate the threat of new, hitherto unknown pests.
In total there are 26 countries participating. Research activities in Switzerland, carried out by CABI are funded by a grant from the Swiss Department for Education and Science (SER).
Research Scientist, Ecosystems Management, and Risk Analysis and Invasion Ecology