Quarantine arthropod invasions in Europe: the role of climate, hosts and propagule pressure

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Aim To quantify the relative importance of propagule pressure, climatematching and host availability for the invasion of agricultural pest arthropods in Europe and to forecast newly emerging pest species and European areas with the highest risk of arthropod invasion under current climate and a future climate scenario (A1F1).

Location Europe.

Methods We quantified propagule pressure, climate-matching and host availability by aggregating large global databases for trade, European arthropod interceptions, KoeppenGeiger world climate classification (including the A1F1 climate change scenario until 2100) and host plant distributions for 118 quarantine arthropod species.

Results As expected, all the three factors, propagule pressure, climate suitability and host availability, significantly explained quarantine arthropod invasions in Europe, but the propagule pressure only had a positive effect on invasion success when considered together with climate suitability and host availability. Climate change according to the A1F1 scenario generally increased the climate suitability of north-eastern European countries and reduced the climate suitability of central European countries for pest arthropod invasions.

Main conclusions To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that propagule pressure interacts with other factors to drive invasions and is not alone sufficient to explain arthropod establishment patterns. European countries with more suitable climate and large agricultural areas of suitable host plants for pest arthropods should thus be more vigilant about introduction pathways. Moreover, efforts to reduce the propagule pressure, such as preventing pests from entering pathways and strengthening border controls, will become more important in north-eastern Europe in the future as the climate becomes more favourable to arthropod invasions.

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Gaps in Border Controls Are Related to Quarantine Alien Insect Invasions in Europe

Alien insects are increasingly being dispersed around the world through international trade, causing a multitude of negative environmental impacts and billions of dollars in economic losses annually. Border controls form the last line of defense against invasions, whereby inspectors aim to intercept and stop consignments that are contaminated with harmful alien insects. In Europe, member states depend on one another to prevent insect introductions by operating a first point of entry rule – controlling goods only when they initially enter the continent. However, ensuring consistency between border control points is difficult because there exists no optimal inspection strategy. For the first time, we developed a method to quantify the volume of agricultural trade that should be inspected for quarantine insects at border control points in Europe, based on global agricultural trade of over 100 million distinct origin-commodity-species-destination pathways. This metric was then used to evaluate the performance of existing border controls, as measured by border interception results in Europe between 2003 and 2007. Alarmingly, we found significant gaps between the trade pathways that should be inspected and actual number of interceptions. Moreover, many of the most likely introduction pathways yielded none or very few insect interceptions, because regular interceptions are only made on only a narrow range of pathways. European countries with gaps in border controls have been invaded by higher numbers of quarantine alien insect species, indicating the importance of proper inspections to prevent insect invasions. Equipped with an optimal inspection strategy based on the underlying risks of trade, authorities globally will be able to implement more effective and consistent border controls.

Bacon SJ, Bacher S, Aebi A (2012) Gaps in Border Controls Are Related to Quarantine Alien Insect Invasions in Europe. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47689. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047689  PDF

“Voyage, voyage” un article d’Atlant Bieri paru dans Vivai


Des mouvements de quelques millimètres de certaines amibes aux mouvements spatio-temporels d’un palmier dattier… en passant par les transports involontaires d’insectes à travers le monde. Un article sur la mobilité écrit par Atlant Bieri, paru dans le magazine Vivai de Septembre 2012.

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En allemand PDF

En italien PDF