Insect infestations halved with adoption of international standard

International science collaboration shows insect infestations of trees are halved with the adoption of an international invasive species standard, preventing billions of dollars in future damages.

Scientists from Crown research institutes Scion and AgResearch and several organisations in the USA have found an international standard has been effective at reducing infestations of bark and wood-boring insects. This is very good news for countries that value forest and amenity trees.

“Comparing changes in infestation rates before and after the introduction of the standard ten years ago, we found infestations had dropped by at least 50%,” said Eckehard Brockerhoff, a principal scientist with Scion.

The scientists also modelled the economic costs and benefits of the standard. They found the standard could be expected to provide net benefits exceeding US$10 billion by 2050, for the USA alone and even greater benefits worldwide. The upfront investment in terms of increased pallet costs was more than outweighed by the benefits of prevented forest pest invasions.

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Image credit: Scion