Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network (APFISN)

Forest invasive species issues transcend national borders, and have become increasingly global and regional concerns, while remaining an important focus of national biosecurity for individual countries.

With advances in technology, increasing international trade and tourism and a multitude of new avenues of contact implicit in globalization, the incidence of forest biological invasions is increasing dramatically. Experience in dealing with invasive species worldwide shows that international collaboration plays a crucial role in managing the risks of incursions. Region-wide sharing of early-warnings about potential invaders, their rapid detection and identification, as well as the sharing of biological information, risk assessments, and monitoring and control techniques are invaluable tools to help prevent spread and establishment of potential invasive species.

Recognizing the dangers posed by invasive species to the sustainable management of forests in Asia and the Pacific, the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network (APFISN) was officially launched at the 20th session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) , held in Fiji , in April 2004 . The network will focus on technical and organizational issues to address the prevention, detection, eradication, and control of forest invasive species in the region.

The objectives of APFISN are to:

  • promote exchange and sharing of information on forest invasive species among the member countries;
  • facilitate access to expertise and resources such as research and education and training opportunities;
  • strengthen capacities of the member counties to conduct research and management on forest invasive species;
  • increase coordination and cooperation among the member countries by developing regional strategies for forest invasive species; and
  • raise awareness of invasive species as a significant issue throughout the Asia and Pacific Region.

To achieve its objectives, APFISN identifies gaps in existing strategies and policies aimed at combating forest invasive species and support activities to address priority concerns.


The highest initial priorities of APFISN activities as identified by the member countries are:

1. Stock-take of national activities

The network is conducting a stock-take of national activities currently being implemented on forest invasive species. The starting point was a review of the country reports prepared for the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Conference to identify gaps potentially requiring capacity building. A set of guidelines has been prepared to assist in standardizing the information reported in the original country reports and during national stocktaking exercises.

2. Awareness raising

A regional awareness strategy for forest invasive species is being developed. The awareness strategy will outline awareness objectives and identify target audiences and measures that can be implemented to raise regional awareness of forest invasive species.

3. Capacity building

Opportunities for collaboration on specific capacity-building activities are being identified through the stocktaking exercise. Specific capacity-building activities are being implemented in collaboration with network members.

A workshop on Development of an Asia-Pacific regional strategy for Eucalyptus rust, organized in collaboration with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), APFC and FAO, was held in Bangkok, Thailand in October 2004 as the first programmed activity of the network.

The network also organized a regional workshop on Developing an Asia-Pacific Strategy for Forest Invasive Species: the Coconut Beetle Problem – Bridging Agriculture and Forestry in Ho Chi Minh City, in February 2005. Participants shared information on risk assessment, monitoring and biological control measures.

4. Database and information sharing

National focal points play a key role in facilitating the exchange of information on forest invasive species among network members. Several mechanisms are being developed or considered to facilitate information exchange including a network website, newsletters and/or a regional forest invasive species listserver.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has begun work on developing a forest invasive species database, which will provide a system for collating, storing and readily accessing information gathered by the network. The database will be further developed in collaboration with network members, cognizant of cross-sectoral boundary issues.

5. Organizational structures to support the network

The network functions under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission and, as such, with support from the APFC Secretariat. Country-nominated individuals (national focal points) are important links in the functioning of the network. The focal points provide linkage between the network and other regional and global forest invasive species initiatives. They also are responsible for coordinating network activities within countries and for facilitating the timely exchange of information.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has provided initial coordination support for the network by engaging a coordinator to facilitate the implementation of network activities. The network is currently exploring opportunities to mobilize additional member resources.


All APFC member countries are eligible to join APFISN. The current list of countries having nominated national focal points is:

Australia Bangladesh Bhutan
Cambodia China Fiji
India Indonesia Japan
Korea, Republic of Lao PDR Malaysia
Maldives Mongolia New Zealand
Pakistan Papua New Guinea Philippines
Sri Lanka Thailand Timor Leste
United States of America Vanuatu Viet Nam