Whereas, developing patterns of global trade are dramatically increasing the introduction of foreign raw wood and processed wood products including, but not limited to, wood products, unprocessed raw logs, wood packing/packaging material, dunnage, and all wood associated with unregulated commodities into the United States.
Whereas, these wood products, if not adequately treated at point-of-origin and then maintained pest free until entrance into the United States, pose a risk of harboring live organisms (including insects, nematodes, fungi, bacteria, viruses, weed propagules, etc.) that could become established in this country as exotic forest pests and current import regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection Quarantine (known as APHIS, PPQ) are not supported by evidence to document their efficacy to effectively exclude pest organisms from wood products (Morrell, 1995).
And, many of these exotic organisms, once established, can cause catastrophic, irreversible damage to the ecological integrity, productivity, and sustainability of North American forests and wild lands.
Therefore, we, The American Phytopathological Society (APS), urge APHIS, PPQ to adopt and implement rules that ensure all wood is treated at point-of-origin to meet an established and universal criterion for reduction of living organisms harbored on or within wood to as close to zero tolerance as feasible under documented current technology.
As such, the APS Forest Pathology Committee and others in attendance with expertise in forest pathology, convened at the 1998 annual meeting of APS and discussed the seriousness of the increased risk of introduction of exotic organisms, and the committee recommends to APHIS, PPQ that at present, a documented effective treatment for wood products is a heat treatment with or without moisture reduction as specified under the APHIS universal treatment option: 71 degrees centigrade at the center of the material for 75 minutes (USDA Forest Service, 1995). If applied to all imported raw logs and other wood material, this treatment will substantially minimize the threat of introduction of injurious organisms. The Forest Pathology Committee believes that until other efficacious wood treatments are sufficiently documented, heat treatment provides the broadest and safest approach to the wood importation issue.
The APS Forest Pathology Committee also proposes that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sponsor an international meeting of scientists to discuss the biology, ecology, epidemiology and global threat of these exotic pests to the sustainability of all forest and wild land ecosystems.
Furthermore, the USDA, working with academics and other professionals concerned with forest and wild land pests, should take a leading role in reevaluation of international policies and procedures related to the introduction of exotic pests.
Morrell, J.J. 1995. Importation of unprocessed logs into North America: A review of pest mitigation procedures and their efficacy. Forest Products Journal 45:41-50.
USDA Forest Service. 1995. Importation of logs, lumber and other unmanufactured wood articles. Federal Register 60(101): 27665-27682.
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