30 November 2018 – This week CABI launched the full version of its invasive species Horizon Scanning Tool, a free and open access online resource available via the Invasive Species Compendium that helps users make decisions about invasive species and identify possible risks in countries, provinces and states.

Following beta testing, the tool now includes new features and improvements such as an additional country filter based on trade data, enhanced sharing of horizon scans, improved CSV output and the integration of habitat data into the data sheets.

Funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the tool is designed to help plant health professionals such as plant protection officers, quarantine officers, protected area managers, risk assessors and researchers access large amounts of data for categorising and prioritising potential invasive species.

Importantly, the new Horizon Scanning Tool helps pinpoint possible cross-border threats. Lists of invasive species can be generated using information from CABI Compendia datasheets and filtered to help identify potential risks by showing species that are absent from the selected ‘area at risk’ but present in ‘source areas’ – for example neighbouring countries, countries linked by trade or transport routes, or countries that share similar climates.

Linking to corresponding invasive species datasheets, the tool delivers information on detection and identification of invasive species as well as the species’ means of entry, requirements for establishment and spread, documented negative impacts, and methods for control and prevention. The list can be easily exported to a CSV file for further investigation outside the compendium. The premium version, available only to subscribers of CABI’s Crop Protection Compendium, includes two additional filters – one for plant hosts and one for plant parts in trade – and links to additional pest datasheets from the Crop Protection Compendium.

Gareth Richards, CABI’s Compendium Programme Manager, said: ‘Since the launch of the beta version in March, we’ve talked to users and used their feedback to make key improvements before fully launching the Horizon Scanning Tool. Along with addressing usability issues and filling some important gaps identified in our data, it is now easier to select countries to scan for risk species by climate matching, and we’ve added data to help select countries that export large volumes of commodities for screening. Many more key data are now included in results outputs to help prioritize lists of invasive species generated by scans. Talking to our user community will be key to ensure we do not stop improving this invaluable service.’

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About CABI

CABI is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

Through knowledge sharing and science, CABI helps address issues of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment. We do this by helping farmers grow more and lose less of what they produce, combating threats to agriculture and the environment from pests and diseases, protecting biodiversity from invasive species, and improving access to agricultural and environmental scientific knowledge. Our 49 member countries guide and influence our core areas of work, which include development and research projects, scientific publishing and microbial services.

We gratefully acknowledge the core financial support from our member countries and lead agencies including the United Kingdom (Department for International Development), China (Chinese Ministry of Agriculture), Australia (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research), Canada (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Netherlands (Directorate-General for International Cooperation), and Switzerland (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation). Other sources of funding include the fees paid by our member countries and profits from our publishing activities which enable CABI to support rural development and scientific research around the world.

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