Scientists go online to discuss threat posed by exotic forest pests

St. Paul, MN (February 20, 2001) -- In the past, imported diseases and insects have devastated forests and plant life throughout the world and caused millions of dollars of economic damage. This April, scientists, along with business, government and other interested individuals from around the world will gather at their keyboards for "The Risks of Exotic Forest Pests and Their Impact on Trade," a FREE internet presentation and discussion on how to reduce the movement of disease pests across countries.

"Some of the most deadly plant diseases have easily found their way around the world," states Cindy Ash, a plant health scientist with the American Phytopathological Society (APS), one of the sponsors of the online meeting. "Often these diseases are introduced in ways we would never think of; in wood used for packing material for example." States Ash, "Since this is truly a global issue, it requires the coordinated efforts of scientists, regulators and others from around the world. In this way we can begin to develop methods for preventing the possibility of huge losses in forest plants and crops."

Beginning April 16, 2001, a panel of experts will introduce topics relating to exotic pests by posting short papers on the meetings website, followed by a free online Internet discussion period of two weeks. Discussion will focus on how exotic pests impact forests and landscape trees, how they impact international trade, pests of current concern, methods of control, and possible guidelines, standards and regulations.


Contact: Cindy Ash, APS Director of Scientific Services
American Phytopathological Society

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