Submitted to: International Plant Protection Congress
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2004
Publication Date: 5/11/2004
Citation: Hoelmer, K.A., Kirk, A.A., Meikle, W.G. 2004. Foreign exploration for biological control agents: current issues and problems. International Plant Protection Congress. Proceedings, page 132
Interpretive Summary: Successful foreign exploration for biological control agents of invasive pests depends on many different factors, such as knowing the origin of a pest, selecting suitable climates, taxonomic support and biological knowledge of the pest and of its natural enemies and their actual and potential host ranges. These traditional considerations are still important today, but advances in molecular biology have provided researchers with new tools. Accurate knowledge of a natural enemy's host range has assumed even greater importance because of increasing concerns for non-target effects. Foreign explorers confront new problems in collecting and transporting biological control agents. New regulations are the result of concerns for preserving biodiversity and protecting endangered species and the proprietary rights to genetic resources, and new concerns for bio-security during transportation and delivery. Coordination between explorers and regulatory officials is now more important than in the past.
Technical Abstract: Successful foreign exploration for biological control agents has traditionally been dependent on a variety of different factors. These include knowledge of the pest area of origin, matching of similar climates, taxonomic support and knowledge of pest and natural enemies, selection of appropriate genotypes or host races, pre-release efficacy evaluations and assessments of host range. A survey of recent programs of explorations resulting in successful introductions shows that these considerations remain important, but advances in molecular biology have given researchers new methods to address these questions. The need for accurate knowledge of host range has assumed even greater importance in recent years to meet the requirements for comprehensive risk assessments of off-target potential. At the same time, foreign explorers face many new operational difficulties in collecting and transporting biological control agents as new regulations have proliferated in recent years. In the past, importation regulations were largely concerned with ensuring protection against introductions of invasive species. This remains a key issue, but many additional regulations impact foreign exploration. These are the result of evolving concerns for biodiversity, endangered species conservation, and proprietary rights to genetic resources, and of enhanced levels of security during transportation and at the point of introduction. Close coordination between explorers, regulatory officials, air transport services and customs offices is now more important than ever before.