Outlined briefly below are some pest and pathogen species that pose a forest health biosecurity risk in terms of the damage they could potential pose to Eucalyptus globulus plantations. For further information refer to our field guide or consult the guides section for further reading.
If you suspect that you may have found or observed one of these exotic pests or pathogens you should urgently contact the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on Freecall 1800 084 881 and follow their instructions.
There are 3 biotypes of Gypsy moth; 2 Asian types and an European one. The greatest limitation this species has as an invader is that females (of the European type) are incapable of flight and this limits its rate of unassisted range expansion. However, females of the Asian type are capable of flight and all strains often lay their eggs on human-made objects, such as machinery, logs, furniture etc. Therefore the potential for accidental introduction and spread is high. The first symptoms of gypsy moth infestation appear in the tops of the trees as the newly hatched larvae usually start feeding on flushing buds and expanding leaves. High populations often result in total tree defoliation.
Asian Longicorn Beetle
This species has a very wide host range and could potentially be very destructive affecting Australia’s hardwood forests, fruit orchards and parkland and amenity trees. In the field the most obvious sign of this species presence, would be dead or dying trees, with circular emergence holes 9 – 11mm in diameter, and small piles of sawdust at base of trees or in branch crevices. Adults would emerge from trees in summer. Symptoms could be confused with those caused by native wood boring species.
South African Cossid Goat Moth
Recorded on Eucalyptus nitens in South Africa. The larvae are up to 60 mm long grubs with dark heads and light yellow bodies with reddish blotches. They feed greagariously in living trees, boring relanumerous galeries in the trunks of trees. Holes in the stem with wood frass and kino spilling out are often a sign of their presence. Affected trees are susceptible to wind break and further fungal attack.
South American Carpenter Worm
Originally reported from central to southern Chile and Argentina. The species feeds on various hardwood timber species and fruit trees. It is known to attack a number of eucalypt species including Eucalyptus globulus. The larvae are large stout grubs with dark heads and cream coloured bodies. They feed in living trees and bore relatively large holes in the trunk, making them susceptible to wind breakage and facilitating the entry for fungal pathogens. Adult moths can fly over considerable distances, and the pest could quickly spread if established.
Puccinia psidii is a rust fungus originating from South America. It is unusual for a rust species in that it has a very large host range, mostly within the family Myrtaceae (including eucalypts). Its introduction into Australia is likely to be extremely damaging to native ecosystems as well as plantations. Tropical and sub-tropical areas are likely to be more affected due to favourable conditions. There is variation in host susceptibility both between species and between provenances within species. The rust produces lesions on young, actively growing leaves and shoots, as well as on fruits and sepals. Leaves may become buckled or twisted as a result of infection. When fruiting, massess of bright yellow or orange-yellow spores may be observed on the surfaces of affected parts. Occasionally, they may have dark brown spores. Severe rust disease in young trees may kill shoot tips, causing loss of leaders and a bushy habit. Repeated cycles of infection reduce growth and may lead to death of trees.
Coniothyrium stem canker
The common name for this disease refers to its previous name Coniothyrium zuluensis. Its is found in Africa, central and southern America and south east asia. This pathogen causes small, necrotic spots on the young green stems of Eucalyptus, which later coalesce and form large cankers that eventually girdle susceptible trees and kill their tops. Abundant kino exudation and formation of kino pockets in the xylem are common symptoms. The lesions restrict bark peeling prior to pulping.
First detected in temperate areas of North America. Symptoms may vary depending on the host species. These include necrotic leaf spots, leaf blight, and even twig dieback. The most consistent and diagnostic symptom on trees are cankers that develop before foliar symptoms become evident. Cankers have brown or black discoloured outer bark often with an ooze of dark red sap. They occur on the trunk at the root crown up to 20 m above the ground, but do not enlarge below the soil line into the roots. Individual cankers are delimited by thin black lines in the inner bark and can be over 2 m in length Recent testing on Eucalyptus spp., indicates that many are susceptible. However susceptibility is likely to vary depending on species and provenance. The pathogen is aerially dispersed and given it has a wide host range (over 40 plant genera), it poses a significant threat should it be introduced.
Strategies and Plans
National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy
Australia has a robust plant biosecurity system designed to protect plant production systems, including agriculture and forestry, which together are worth an estimated $25 billion dollars annually. Australia’s forests represent the seventh largest forest estate in the world encompassing native, planted and urban forests.
These forests make a significant contribution to Australia’s economy, environment and community with over 109 stakeholder groups. Stakeholders range from Federal, state and local government to the forest wood products sector, the forest non-wood products sector, the building industry and the general community.
Increasing levels of trade, movement of people and commodities as well as climate change are all contributing to an upward trend in the number of exotic forest pests establishing in Australia. New pests result in significant economic, environmental and amenity costs.
Adding to these challenges, reductions in staffing levels and structural changes of infrastructure and financial resources across many forest stakeholders have resulted in capacity and capability gaps in the forest sector and Australia’s biosecurity arrangements.
As a result of these factors, Australia’s plant biosecurity system faces pressure in mitigating the risks posed by exotic forest pests. Stakeholder feedback has emphasised that nationally coordinated surveillance programs, supported by an effective diagnostic network, are needed to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of detection of exotic forest pests, mitigate the risk of exotic forest pests establishing in Australia and provide evidence to support claims of area freedom. Ensuring that forest stakeholders and government agencies work together in partnership is critical to achieving these aims.
Confronting these challenges, the National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy (hereafter referred to as the NFBSS) has been designed to complement and address aspects of the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy, the National Plant Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy and the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Strategy for the forest biosecurity sector. The NFBSS provides a vision towards the establishment of a coordinated National Forest Pest Surveillance Program.
The three overarching objectives of the NFBSS are to:
- Improve forest pest surveillance coordination, capacity and capability across stakeholders.
- Maximise resource efficiency through stakeholder partnerships.
- Optimise forest surveillance efforts across the biosecurity continuum using a risk-based approach.
A series of goals and actions with defined outcomes are described to enable stakeholders to successfully establish a National Forest Pest Surveillance Program over 5 years.
To view the full strategy go to http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/strategies/national-forest-biosecurity-surveillance-strategy/
National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy Implementation Plan
To achieve the objectives, goals and outcomes outlined in the NFBSS the following implementation plan suggests
ten major actions with a total of 30 associated tasks, undertaken over five years, for consideration by forest
stakeholders and governments. This represents an economically beneficial investment to protect a forest products sector that in 2014–15 contributed $2.8 billion worth of exports and over $22 billion worth of sales and services domestically to the Australian economy. This figure excludes the value of forests to biodiversity, tourism, recreation, amenity and ecosystem services.
Implementation of the NFBSS will support the sustainability of Australia’s forests and provide information on pest status that underpins market access for forest derived products.
To view the full Implementation Plan go to http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/strategies/national-forest-biosecurity-surveillance-strategy/
Framework for National Biosecurity Surveillance of Exotic Forest Pests
This Framework recognises that there is an initial need to effectively gather together and engage the multitude of stakeholders in the forest sector in order to drive fair investment in forest biosecurity. The recommendations contained in this Framework outline a system wherein the forest sector would, where appropriate, provide funding, in-kind operational support or provision of forest-specific expertise to assist or undertake the activities along Australia’s biosecurity continuum. The forest sector is already undertaking forest health surveillance and is well placed to assist with High Risk Site Surveillance. Government expertise and information is needed to support these post-border activities. Pre-border and border activities undertaken by Australian Government and state agencies such as pathways analysis, import risk analysis, surveillance, offshore intelligence gathering and capacity building all need to be reviewed and be considered in light of the threats posed by exotic forest pests. The results of these activities need to be shared with the forest sector to assist benchmarking and improve the targeting of post-border surveillance. In turn, forest sector expertise and data can assist in guiding some of these activities. In summary, the greater engagement and collaboration between the forest sector and government biosecurity agencies will allow biosecurity activities along the continuum to detect not only exotic pests important to Australia’s agricultural sector but also those that affect the forest sector. This would better serve the needs of the forest industry and provide greater protection to the entirety of Australia’s forests including conservation native forests and urban forests.
To view the full Framework go to http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/strategies/national-forest-biosecurity-surveillance-strategy/
The Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed
Plant Health Australia is the custodian of the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. This is a formal legally binding agreement between PHA, the Australian Government, all state and territory governments and national plant industry body signatories. AFPA is the signatory for the Australian Forest Industry. It covers the management and funding of responses to emergency plant pest (EPP) incidents, including the potential for owner reimbursement costs for growers. It also formalises the role of plant industries’ participation in decision making, as well as their contribution towards the costs related to approved responses. The ratification of the EPPRD in 2005 significantly increased Australia’s capacity to respond to emergency plant pest incursions. The key advantage of the EPPRD is more timely, effective and efficient response to plant pest incursions, while minimising uncertainty over management and funding arrangements. Other significant benefits include:
- potential liabilities are known and funding mechanisms are agreed in advance
- industry is directly involved in decision making about mounting and managing an emergency plant pest response from the outset
- a consistent and agreed national approach for managing incursions
- wider commitment to risk mitigation by all parties through the development and implementation of biosecurity strategies and programs
- motivation and rationale to maintain a reserve of trained personnel and technical expertise
- provision of accountability and transparency to all parties.
To view the full document go to http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/biosecurity/emergency-plant-pest-response-deed/
PLANTPLAN (Australian Emergency Plant Pest Response Plan) is the agreed technical response plan used to respond to an emergency plant pest incident. It provides nationally consistent guidelines for response procedures under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), outlining the phases of an incursion, as well as the key roles and responsibilities of industry and government during each of these phases. It incorporates best practice in emergency plant pest responses is updated regularly to incorporate new information or address gaps identified by the outcomes of emergency plant pest incident reviews.
PLANTPLAN is an appendix to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed and is endorsed by all signatories.
PLANTPLAN is supported by individual industry biosecurity planning that covers industry and pest specific information, risk mitigation activities and contingency plans. It also provides a focus for training personnel in operational response and preparedness procedures.
To view the full document go to http://www.planthealthaustralia.com.au/biosecurity/incursion-management/plantplan/