Guide to the implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry


Narrator: As growing global trade expands opportunities for forest products, new threats from foreign insects and fungi are emerging from the woodwork. Forest pests are resourceful globetrotters—they can stow away in almost any cargo, including wood products, containers and packaging, nursery plants, seeds, soil and industrial equipment. Once past the border, they can spread across Canada in and on everything from footwear to firewood.

So how do we keep the bugs out?

That’s a question Natural Resources Canada research scientist Eric Allen has been helping to answer. He’s one of a core group of 15 experts—including five Canadians who have produced a brand-new guide on how to reduce the spread of pests through forest trade.

Eric Allen: This book is written to be very accessible. It provides clear, concise guidance, based on international plant health standards, to help reduce the spread of forest pests around the globe. From a Canadian standpoint, this means protecting our own forests from alien pests and ensuring we’re not sending pests elsewhere.

Narrator: The Guide to implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry, published in March 2011 in six languages, was an extensive worldwide effort. Under the mandate of the FAO or Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an international group of scientists, plant health experts and forest industry representatives compiled the guide with review input by over 100 specialists from 46 countries.

Written to address all sectors of forestry, this guide helps to connect policy-makers with the forest sector workers on the ground. The ultimate goal is to help reduce the spread of pests at every step of the forest product chain: planting, managing, harvesting, manufacturing, trading and transporting forest products.

Eric Allen: The Guide offers simple, practical, plain-language suggestions on what forest sector workers can do at every step of the wood commodity production chain to reduce the transport of pests.

Preventing the international movement of alien forest pests is critical; such introductions can lead to major forest impact, can alter ecosystems, and can affect trade in the flow of forest products worth billions of dollars worldwide.

Assessing the pest risk associated with a forest product can be complex.

Treatments that maybe required to reduce pest risk vary widely depending on the type of product being shipped, where it originate and where it's being shipped to.

The new guide can help: it defines forestry jargon, describes international phytosanitary methods and explains how those methods can keep pests from slipping through the cracks and invading new countries.

Narrator: The FAO is distributing copies of the guide to forest workers, forestry schools and libraries, universities and national plant protection organizations.

The practices are being promoted through regional workshops, presentations at scientific and professional conferences and field training in developing countries.

Eric Allen: Ultimately, we want to change people’s behaviour to help reduce pest movement.

Looking forward, it is important to educate the next generation of foresters about plant health and we hope to see the guide’s concepts integrated into forestry school curricula around the world.

Narrator: The Government of Canada is working hard to prevent new introductions and limit the spread of invasive species in order to conserve our ecosystems and resource-based economic contributions.

With this international collaboration to increase understanding of forest phytosanitary issues, the forest sector in Canada and around the world can work together to reduce forest pest problems.

The Guide to implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry is available online at

For more information visit our website at: