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PestLens: A web-based phytosanitary early-warning system

Roslyn Noar: North Carolina State University

<div>Appropriate and timely safeguarding actions are important to prevent the introduction and minimize the impact of exotic plant pests that can harm United States agriculture and natural resources. PestLens, a cooperative effort between the United States Department of Agriculture’s Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program and the Center for Integrated Pest Management at North Carolina State University, serves as PPQ’s phytosanitary early-warning system that helps PPQ to stay informed about exotic plant pest news so that appropriate safeguarding decisions can be made. The PestLens analysts have expertise in plant pathology, entomology, weed science, and technical communications. Each week, the analysts gather information from a wide range of sources, including hundreds of scientific journals, websites, newsletters, e-mail groups, and automated internet search queries; summarize the new information and provide background knowledge on the pest; and report the information in an e-mail notification that is available to the broader scientific community. The notifications are also available via the PestLens website, which provides a searchable archive of reports for registered users and a secure platform for PPQ action groups to document the safeguarding decisions and actions taken in response to each of the reported phytosanitary events.</div>