An audit of forest biosecurity arrangements and preparedness in Australia
Although serious pest and disease outbreaks in forestry are relatively rare, current biosecurity arrangements for plantation forestry are poorly defined. This project gathered alternative views about forest biosecurity, assembled strategies for achieving those objectives, and recommended actions that might be supported by stakeholders.
Initially researchers wrote a position paper exploring the current systems and structures for responding to a plant pest emergency. A cross section of forest biosecurity stakeholders—from Government to industry to environment groups—participated in a workshop facilitated by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis. This decision-making approach promoted mutual understanding of different perspectives in order to progress a collective recommendation for strategies to improve forest biosecurity.
The workshop outcomes were the basis for a list of strategic actions required to improve forest biosecurity in Australia and to be implemented over the next 2–5 years.
Two non-research actions were prioritised: a national body is needed for forest health and biosecurity (such as an expanded Research Working Group 7) with revised membership and terms of reference to be represented in the national arena by a dedicated officer; and there is an urgent need to demonstrate the benefits of industry investment in biosecurity or the potential costs of non-participation.