How effective has International policy been in reducing the risk of wood-borer insects from entering the forests of the US?

In recent years, wood-infesting insects have caused serious environmental and economic damage in the United States and around the world, catching public and regulatory attention. Wood packaging material (WPM), such as shipping pallets, is one of the common ways wood pests move freely one country to another. International trade has introduced many exotic insect pests and plant pathogens and several have become highly invasive causing serious impacts to multiple habitats worldwide. In 2002, the International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM15) was adopted setting standards for treatment for WPM used for international trade.

From 2008 to 2010, an NCEAS Working Group combed federal records to determine the effectiveness of international policy in preventing wood-borer infested WPM from entering the US, and estimated the economic costs associated the potential colonization of exotic pests and pathogens. The results of their efforts were recently published in PLOS ONE and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

Effectiveness of the International Phytosanitary Standard ISPM No. 15 on Reducing Wood Borer Infestation Rates in Wood Packaging Material Entering the United States Robert A. Haack, Kerry O. Britton, Eckehard G. Brockerhoff, Joseph F. Cavey, Lynn J. Garrett, Mark Kimberley, Frank Lowenstein, Amelia Nuding, Lars J. Olson, James Turner, and Kathryn N. Vasilaky,
PLOS ONE, 2014

Pathway-level risk analysis: the net present value of an invasive species policy in the US
Brian Leung, Michael R Springborn, James A Turner, and Eckehard G Brockerhoff
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2014

Web Coverage:
     USDA: Science Tuesday Blog: International Wood Packaging Standards Stops Bugs Dead in their Tracks Insect invasions halved by adoption of international standard

New International Wood Packaging Standard Stops Bugs Dead in their Tracks - See more at:

Working Group: Effects of trade policy on management of non-native forest pests and pathogens
More information about this Working Group’s research, participants and publications


This work was supported by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, the National Science Foundation (Grant #EF-0553768), and the University of California, Santa Barbara.


NCEAS News and Announcements

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest research, calls for proposals, stories, and opportunities at NCEAS.
Posted on May 20, 2014