Each day, 35 shipping containers bring a pest to the U.S.
Photo credit: Greg Bishop.
Still, as of 2009, one shipment out of each thousand that contain wood packaging harbors a live insect that threatens plant resources in the U.S. This sounds like a very small risk. However, an estimated 13 million shipping containers carrying wood packaging entered the U.S. in 2013. At the suggested approach rate, this means 13,000 containers harboring pests would enter the country each year – 35 per day.1 Continuing what we are doing now could result in more than 100 additional wood-boring insects being introduced over the next 40 years.2
We can do more!
U.S. and Canadian governments work with their counterparts in Asia and around the world to improve compliance with the standard’s treatment and other requirements.
Meanwhile, businesses that import goods packaged in wood can also step forward to protect the urban and wildland forests from which all Americans benefit. These businesses can help stop the spread of pests by:
- Negotiating contracts with their foreign suppliers that hold the supplier responsible for any costs arising from failures to comply with the international standard.
- Emphasizing to employees and contractors who manage the company’s transportation and supply chain their personal responsibility for ensuring compliance.
- Evaluating alternatives to wood packaging – avoiding hassles at the border might make up for the higher cost of alternative types of packaging.
- Instituting active pest surveillance at warehouses and distribution centers; reporting evidence of pests to appropriate federal and state’s authorities.
1Haack RA, Britton KO, Brockerhoff EG, Cavey JF, Garrett LJ, et al. (2014) Effectiveness of the International Phytosanitary Standard ISPM No. 15 on Reducing Wood Borer Infestation Rates in Wood Packaging Material Entering the United States. PLoS ONE 9(5): e96611. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096611.
2Leung, B., M.R. Springborn, J.A. Turner, E.G. Brockerhoff. 2014. Pathway-level risk analysis: the net present value of an invasive species policy in the US. The Ecological Society of America. Frontiers of Ecology.org