Gaps in border controls are related to alien insect invasions in Europe

Oct 24, 2012

European countries with gaps in border security surrounding agricultural imports have been invaded by the largest number of exotic insect pests, according to research published Oct 24 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Steven Bacon and colleagues from the Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope ART and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Invasive pose growing environmental and economic problems, threatening biodiversity and costing billions of dollars in economic losses annually. Large volumes of cross-border trade increase the risks of invasion, but the lack of metrics to estimate this risk makes control a challenge.

In the new study, the authors combine global data sets of international agricultural trade with the biology and distribution of invasive to create metrics that can be used to evaluate and improve border controls.

According to the study, known on many agricultural imports may be frequently undetected by European plant protection authorities. The authors suggest that this leaves European imports vulnerable to pests from countries like the USA, Argentina and Brazil, particularly to insects on large scale commodities such as soybeans, coffee and fruits like bananas, grapes and pineapples, which are the least controlled imports.

According to the authors, these metrics could help quantify the link between invasive insects and international trade. "Developing these metrics enables us to evaluate existing border controls in Europe for the first time. Highlighting gaps in border controls, which relate to insect invasions, gives plant protection authorities the tools to improve biosecurity", says Bacon.

Explore further: Rare birds jammed inside water bottles in Indonesia

More information: PLoS ONE 7(10): e47689.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047689

Related Stories

Beware of the enemy within

Nov 17, 2010

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.

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 ...

Invasive pest danger closer than you think

Dec 01, 2010

In Australia, when crossing from one state to another, travelers may encounter a quarantine stop and may be required to forfeit recently purchased fruits and vegetables as a hedge against invasive pests. But in the U.S., ...

Recommended for you

Rare birds jammed inside water bottles in Indonesia

1 hour ago

Indonesian police have arrested a suspected wildlife smuggler after discovering nearly two dozen rare birds, mostly yellow-crested cockatoos, jammed inside plastic water bottles in his luggage.

Norway plans to slash subsidies to fur farms

15 hours ago

Norwegian fur farmers denounced Tuesday a government proposal to slash financial support to the controversial industry and warned that it could lead to farm closures in vulnerable rural areas.

Hitting the borders of expansion

19 hours ago

Why does a species not adapt to an ever-wider range of conditions, gradually expanding its geographical range? In their paper published on May 5 in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), Jitka Polecho ...

Fire linked to dieback spread

20 hours ago

Fire has the potential to increase the range and severity of Phytophthora dieback in native plant communities infected with the disease, suggests a study at the Stirling Range National Park near Albany.

How mixing light with salt makes a smolt?

20 hours ago

For decades, researchers have tried to find out what regulates changes in salmon when they transform from being freshwater to saltwater fish. Now they have come a little closer to an answer.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.