Timber import and the risk of forest pest introductions.

Published online
04 Mar 2009
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Skarpaas, O. & Økland, B.
Contact email(s)

Publication language


Many invasive species are introduced by trade, and there is a need for studies of pre-emptive measures to lower the risk of introductions, as post-establishment management is often extremely costly or nearly impossible. In this study, we present a generic model for the first step of the invasion process for trade-imported pests, and further develop this model for potentially harmful bark beetles to assess the risk of introductions and alternative management options. Our results suggest that introductions of bark beetles are likely, given present timber import practices, and that immigration may often go undetected by pheromone traps. The most effective measures for reducing introduction risk were those aimed at isolating the storage from forest (storage enclosure, location) followed by those reducing the available resources for forest pests (debarking, timber irrigation, rapid processing), whereas delayed import was least effective. Synthesis and applications: The generic model framework of species introductions presented here may easily be adapted to other import systems. The submodels of population dynamics and dispersal are also quite general, and we expect our qualitative results to hold in many cases, although the models were parameterized for bark beetles in this study. Our results suggest that detection of dispersal from storage to forests will be difficult, which implies that management actions should not be deferred until after detection in nature, as the pest species may then already be established and eradication may be too late. However, pre-emptive measures reducing propagule pressure at one or several stages of the introduction process, in particular isolation measures, may strongly reduce introduction risk.

Key words