A regional decision support scheme for pest risk analysis in Southeast Asia.
A key justification to support plant health regulations is the ability of quarantine services to conduct pest risk analyses (PRA). Despite the supranational nature of biological invasions and the close proximity and connectivity of Southeast Asian countries, PRAs are conducted at the national level. Furthermore, some countries have limited experience in the development of PRAs, which may result in inadequate phytosanitary responses that put their plant resources at risk to pests vectored via international trade. We review existing decision support schemes for PRAs and, following international standards for phytosanitary measures, propose new methods that adapt existing practices to suit the unique characteristics of Southeast Asia. Using a formal written expert elicitation survey, a panel of regional scientific experts was asked to identify and rate unique traits of Southeast Asia with respect to PRA. Subsequently, an expert elicitation workshop with plant protection officials was conducted to verify the potential applicability of the developed methods. Rich biodiversity, shortage of trained personnel, social vulnerability, tropical climate, agriculture-dependent economies, high rates of land-use change, and difficulties in implementing risk management options were identified as challenging Southeast Asian traits. The developed methods emphasize local Southeast Asian conditions and could help support authorities responsible for carrying out PRAs within the region. These methods could also facilitate the creation of other PRA schemes in low- and middle-income tropical countries.