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Responding to invasive and alien forest pests

Invasive Alien Species Strategy

In 2004, federal, provincial and territorial governments produced an Invasive Alien Species Strategy. The strategy has four priorities:

  1. prevention of new invasions;
  2. early detection of invaders;
  3. rapid response to new invaders; and
  4. management of established and spreading invaders through containment, eradication and control.

Responding to invasive and alien forest pests Working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Environment Canada, the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) has prepared an Action Plan for Invasive Alien Terrestrial Plants and Plant Pests (PDF, 83 KB) to support the national strategy. The plan includes key initiatives such as:

  • Science: advising, monitoring and providing information for conducting risk assessments and responding to pest outbreaks
  • Risk Analysis: improving risk assessment methodologies and programs that will prevent the introduction of invasive alien species
  • Education and Public Awareness: promoting guidelines for the import, transport and sale of plants and plant products

Research staff throughout the CFS, including its five regional forestry centres, are working with the CFIA on ways to prevent the introduction of new pest species into Canada, as well as to halt the spread of those that are already present. This collaborative effort includes studying the biology of pest species; developing tools for detecting, identifying and monitoring pests; and training CFIA inspectors.

Preventing pest entry through international trade

International standards are helping countries that trade in wood products establish strict regulations to prevent the accidental spread of forest and other ecosystem pests.

The CFS coordinates international research activities that provide data critical to the adoption of many of these standards.

For example, the CFS, working closely with the CFIA, has been involved in creating and establishing the wood packaging standard, developed under the International Plant Protection Convention of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Known as ISPM 15, this standard requires exporting companies to treat the wood packaging that their products are delivered in to ensure the packaging is free of insects and diseases. This is significantly reducing the risk of invasive pest movement through global trade pathways.

Scientific refinements to this standard and the development of other regulatory instruments continue to reduce pest risk to Canadian forests.

The ISPM 15 standard for wood packaging makes this pathway one of the most closely regulated in international trade.

The CFS also works with the CFIA to develop phytosanitary controls. Phytosanitary controls are measures aimed at preventing the spread of alien pests by regulating the movement of plants and other commodities. In 2010/2011, new treatments for wood pests were proposed by the International Forest Quarantine Research Group, of which CFS is a member. These treatments are now under review by the international community.

Scientists at CFS and FPInnovations have also co-authored the Guide to the Implementation of Phytosanitary Standards in Forestry, published in 2011 by the FAO. The guide will be used in Canada and around the world to promote awareness in the forestry sector about methods to reduce the international movement of forest pests.

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