The value of sentinel plants for risk assessment and surveillance to support biosecurity.
Effective surveillance for early detection of invasive alien species in natural ecosystems, or on valued plants found in modified areas, could prevent potentially devastating and costly impacts (whether environmental, economic or cultural) of new invasions on the invaded country. Surveillance technologies are often constrained by a range of factors. Determining which species present a significant risk before they reach the border is an effective strategy to minimize the possibility of invasion and/or the impact of invasion. Surveillance of sentinel plants provides an important tool to strengthen biosecurity programs assisting with (i) detecting and identifying insect pests, nematodes and plant diseases that could potentially invade uncolonized countries, and (ii) developing pest risk analysis profiles to eliminate or mitigate the risk of arrival. This review examines some of the challenges and opportunities provided by sentinel plant research and discusses the factors that could affect the success of their use for biosecurity risk assessment and surveillance in the New Zealand context.