So, what's the problem
Many invasive tree pests and pathogens are introduced to new countries through the international trade in live plants which causes untold environmental and economic damage. Many of these were previously unknown to be harmful, or even to science, and were therefore not regulated before they invaded. This suggests that the current system to identify harmful species doesn’t provide sufficient protection.
Better knowledge of organisms that may be introduced and harmful to a country would enable them to develop and apply measures to mitigate these risks.
By monitoring trees planted in regions that export plants, it is possible to identify potentially harmful organisms that need regulation. However, as this is new, the methods, regulations and network required for implementing this promising tool need to be developed further.
What is this project doing?
COST Action Global Warning is establishing a global network of scientists and regulators in countries where sentinel nurseries could be established from propagation material, or where botanical gardens or arboreta with exotic trees already exist.
We will also develop common protocols for monitoring and identifying pests, as well as explore ways to regulate how these nurseries are established and the data collected by them should be used.
This Action will bring together detailed information about the international trade in trees and the environmental value of native trees in Europe.
The Action will produce printed and electronic and workshop outputs, as well as at least five short-term scientific missions per year.
Aspects of the sampling will be investigated by Iva Franic who will help to assess the full range of organisms associated with a tree species or genus. Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Iva is a PhD student at CABI’s centre in Switzerland. Her work, which has close links to the COST Action, is supervised by CABI’s René Eschen and Marc Kenis, as well as Dr Simone Prospero of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, WSL and Prof Eric Allan of the University of Bern.
The Action has already resulted in several scientific publications and has organised two training schools (about import regulations for plants for planting and pest risk analysis and about classical techniques for fungal identification).
Recently, an open-access identification guide on the damaging agents of woody plants was developed by members of this project from around 25 countries and will be used by practitioners worldwide.
Head Risk Analysis and Invasion Ecology