Scientists invite others to join them online to discuss exotic species threat

St. Paul, MN (April 16, 2001) -- Though not usually considered a national security threat, insects that find their way into new countries can wreak havoc on forests and agricultural plants, causing untold devastation to the countries they enter. There is enough concern that scientists, businesses and government representatives from around the world will be meeting via the Internet April 16-29 to participate in "The Risks of Exotic Forest Pests and Their Impact on Trade," an online presentation and discussion on how to reduce the movement of insects, diseases, and other pests across countries. The event is free of charge and open to anyone interested in participating.

Many countries are currently spending millions of dollars each year in an effort to prevent exotic pests from entering and spreading in their countries, yet its still a huge problem, says Dr. Kerry Britton, a Forest Pathologist with the USDA Forest Service. The sheer volume of global shipping today has amplified the danger beyond the scale of the regulatory barriers we currently have in place. Its time for us to take a fresh look at the problem and begin to develop options for dealing with it on a global scale.

The online meeting will feature presentations from more than 60 authors on issues involving the hazards and economic impacts of some of the more newly introduced pests, the impact of exotic pests on international trade, and methods for preventing pests from hitchhiking to other countries. Other topics of discussion will include the impact of exotic pests on forest and landscape trees, pests of particular concern and how to control them, and proposed guidelines, standards and regulations.

Event organizers encourage anyone interested in the subject to log on during the interactive sessions beginning April 16 and running through April 29th. There is no cost and anyone may participate. The meeting's website can be found at http://exoticpests.ap

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

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