Ian M. Smith
Director-General, EPPO, 1 rue Le Nôtre, 75016 Paris, France; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) provides quarantine pest information for its members in both paper and electronic media. Paper-based information systems include a scientific journal, a reporting service, news sheets, collected phytosanitary regulations and EPPO standards. Published books include Quarantine pests for Europe, together with distribution maps and illustrations of the pests. Electronic information on compact disc covers a database of pest and plant nomenclature, a compilation of information on quarantine pests and another on phytosanitary regulations of member states. EPPO's Web site includes the Alert List of pests that pose a new risk to the region and information on biological control agents used in the region. Most of these information systems can be extended to cover invasive alien species, a process already under way with the reporting service and distribution maps for weeds.
The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization maintains several information systems on quarantine pests for the benefit of its members. Almost all of these can readily be extended to cover invasive alien species. In some cases, this is already being done. These systems are published either on paper or in electronic form.
The organization's scientific journal, Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin, published by Blackwells, is issued three times a year. It now has the subtitle "A journal of regulatory plant protection", and welcomes articles in this subject area. Its content falls into four categories:
The scope of the journal will now extend to invasive alien species.
The EPPO Secretariat distributes regularly to the member countries:
the EPPO Reporting Service (a collection of about 20 phytosanitary news items each month, covering outbreaks, new geographical records, new hosts, new techniques, events)
EPPO News (a general news sheet about the activities of EPPO, once or twice a year)
EPPO collection of phytosanitary regulations (original texts and summaries of the regulations of member countries and some others, every month).
The Reporting Service has already started to publish news about invasive alien species. For the moment, however, there are no regulations in this area to be distributed.
The EPPO standards are also assembled into their individual sets and published as brochures by the EPPO Secretariat. Thus, all the "Phytosanitary procedures", "Certification schemes" or "Diagnostic protocols" are or will be available as regularly updated separate sets.
EPPO publishes books, of which the most important is Quarantine pests for Europe, a collection of data sheets on each quarantine pest listed by EPPO or the European Union. This book was produced and published in conjunction with CAB International (CABI), under an EU project, and is accompanied by a collection of maps, Distribution maps of quarantine pests for Europe. EPPO has separately published Illustrations of quarantine pests for Europe. Much of this material has also been used in CABI's Crop Protection Compendium, which will contain progressively more information on invasive plants, with a contribution from EPPO for those of concern to Europe.
EPPO publishes three main software systems, under the names EPPT, PQR and PRS:
EPPT is a large database, on CD, of names of pests and plants, with synonyms and taxonomic classification. This system has its origin in the Bayer Code System, which EPPO now manages. The code system as such is also available for use in subscribers' own databases, and is used by many national services, international organizations and agrochemical companies.
PQR is an information system, on CD, on quarantine pests, and in particular their names, hosts, geographical distribution and pathways for movement. In its latest version (4.2), PQR includes some information on invasive alien species; it is intended to extend this in future. Much of the information in PQR is shared with the CABI Crop Protection Compendium and also with the distribution maps of pests and diseases published by CABI, of which EPPO is co-editor. EPPO has made its mark as a source of validated geographical distribution information, and hopes to continue this for invasive alien species.
PRS is an information system, on CD, on the phytosanitary regulations of EPPO member countries. It is based on summaries, in standard format, of these regulations. When interrogated by an exporter wishing to send a given commodity of a certain plant species to an importing country, it interactively supplies details on the phytosanitary requirements of the importing country for that particular instance. PRS complements the paper-based monthly information service on phytosanitary regulations described above.
The EPPO Web site (www.eppo.org) contains a great deal of information about the organization and its work. Points of special interest include:
the EPPO Alert List
This presents mini data sheets on pests that present a new or unexpected risk to the EPPO region. This list is constantly renewed. If appropriate, the pests concerned are evaluated for regulation. Invasive alien species are included.
the EPPO list of biological control agents widely used in the region and found to have no undesirable side-effects on the environment
Movement of these between EPPO countries should be possible without use of the full procedures of ISPM 3: Code of conduct for the import and release of exotic biological control agents.
the EPPO file server, from which very many different EPPO documents (standards, data sheets and so on) can be downloaded.
Finally, EPPO is developing its own mapping systems, with the software Mapinfo. Up till now, EPPO has been involved in the publication of world maps on pest distribution by CABI (in the Crop Protection Compendium and in the collections of distribution maps). It has now created a geographical information system for the territory covered by its European and Mediterranean members, including all of Russia. This will be used for finer within-country mapping of quarantine pests and invasive species in the region. The system has already been used for weeds such as Ambrosia artemisiifolia.