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Individual Highlight

Examining the Role of Humans in the Spread of Invasive Species

Photo of A map shows the links between visitor origin ZIP codes and destination campgrounds, as documented in the U.S. National Recreation Reservation Service database between January 2004 and September 2009. Link color indicates the number of individual reservations recorded in the database; links with 10 or fewer reservations have been omitted for clarity. USDA Forest ServiceA map shows the links between visitor origin ZIP codes and destination campgrounds, as documented in the U.S. National Recreation Reservation Service database between January 2004 and September 2009. Link color indicates the number of individual reservations recorded in the database; links with 10 or fewer reservations have been omitted for clarity. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forest Service scientists and their collaborators have contributed innovative research to the field of forest pest risk assessment by focusing on pathways for the human-assisted spread of forest pest species, including merchandise imports and firewood transport. Research results anticipate where and how often invasive alien forest insects are likely to be established. The findings can assist U.S. and Canadian decision-makers and offer guidance for border control efforts, post-border surveillance, and rapid-response measures.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Koch, Frank H. 
Research Location : U.S. and Canada
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 922

Summary

Forest Service scientists and their collaborators revisited previously estimated annual rates of establishment of non-native forest insect species for more than 3,000 U.S. urban areas. The recent analyses use new and updated data sources to project non-native insect establishment rates until 2045, which will support broader, economically focused models of potential non-native insect impacts on U.S. forests, particularly in the southeast. These analyses anticipate where and how often invasive alien forest insects are likely to be established in the United States to assist decision makers and offer guidance for border control efforts, post-border surveillance, and rapid-response measures. The researchers also have developed a number of other pest risk assessments, including non-native forest insect establishment rate estimates for Canada; an analysis of travel patterns of campers in the United States and associated firewood transport, a practice that can introduce forest pests into new and often remote areas; and, a network model of camper travel and firewood movement that identifies the likeliest destinations if a pest were to spread from a currently infested location, or alternatively, the likeliest origins for a recently discovered infestation in a location of interest. In addition, a recent collaboration resulted in the creation of a similar network model of camper travel and firewood movement for North Carolina State Parks, which should provide insights into the risks of human-assisted pest spread on a smaller scale.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Canadian Forest Service
  • Michigan State University
  • North Carolina State Parks
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • University of Florida

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