Plant quarantine as a measure against invasive alien species: the framework of the International Plant Protection Convention and the plant health regulations in the European Union
The introduction of several plant pests into Europe in the 19th century with disastrous consequences called for the development of plant quarantine measures to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products. With the purpose of harmonising these measures, and of promoting measures for pest control, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) was developed to address organisms that are both directly and indirectly injurious to plants. It supplies a framework for measures against invasive alien species according to the Convention on Biological Diversity, as far as they are plant pests. Three examples of invasive alien species within the scope of the IPPC are given in the article: the fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, the pinewood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus and the flatworm Arthurdendyus triangulatus. In its 1997 revision, the IPPC provides for the establishment of International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures, being acknowledged by the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of theWorld Trade Organisation. Standards most important for invasive alien species are those on pest risk analysis, on requirements for the establishment of pest-free areas, on surveillance, on pest eradication programmes, and on the import and release of exotic biological agents. Phytosanitary regulations in the European Union (EU) have been harmonised and up to now have regulated about 300 plant pests. The requirements also have a protective horizontal effect against the unintentional introduction of many other species, but the existing broader IPPC mandate for alien plant pests is not fully applied by the EU regulations.
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