Beware of the enemy within

Nov 17, 2010
Beware of the enemy within
There is new evidence that Australia’s internal quarantine restrictions for insect pests play an important role in protecting the nation’s agricultural industries. Credit: CSIRO

Evidence supporting Australia's internal quarantine restrictions designed to stop the spread of insect pests, has been published in the respected scientific journal, Nature Communications.

Led by CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences’ Dr. Dean Paini, an international group of scientists at the CRC for National Plant Biosecurity used a type of artificial intelligence (or machine learning) to determine the top 100 most likely to establish in all 48 contiguous states of the US, and how many had not yet established in each of those states.

They then asked: ‘Of these absent species, how many are already found somewhere else in the US?’

The answer was that for most states, all the species absent from that state are found somewhere else in the US – often in a neighbouring state.

"Thus the immediate threat from invasive insect pests to individual US states is from within the US itself," Dr Paini said.

"While most countries, including , place great emphasis on border protection through national and international regulation, the results from this US research show that biosecurity policy needs to be broader than that.

"In any large country, such as Australia, biosecurity must also look at the risks posed by pests already established somewhere within their borders and impose appropriate restrictions to prevent their spread.

"So, if, when moving between states, or even between some geographic areas, Australian travellers are required to dispose of items such as fruit, vegetables or pot plants, they need to remember this is an important part of our biosecurity."

Explore further: Giant anteaters kill two hunters in Brazil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Biofuel crops push ignoring biosecurity impacts

Apr 29, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Important biosecurity issues are being ignored in the global push to develop new non-food crops for biofuels and industrial and pharmaceutical uses, according to a report published recently ...

From international harbor to native habitat

Mar 16, 2010

In the 1930s, soil used as ballast to weigh down cargo ships from South America to Mobile, Alabama introduced the red imported fire ant to the southern United States. Since then, the ants have been found as far north as Maryland ...

Recommended for you

Seeds keep vital much longer when stored without oxygen

34 minutes ago

If seed breeding companies, gene banks and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Spitsbergen should store plant seeds under oxygen-poor conditions, it would be possible to store them for much longer while still ...

Native species may be hindering fox control efforts

36 minutes ago

Native species interfering with ground distributed baits used to control red foxes in south west Western Australia may mean the baits are not available to the target species, a Murdoch University study has ...

Giant anteaters kill two hunters in Brazil

Jul 26, 2014

Giant anteaters in Brazil have killed two hunters in separate incidents, raising concerns about the animals' loss of habitat and the growing risk of dangerous encounters with people, researchers said.

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

Jul 24, 2014

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

User comments : 0