Abiotic and biotic disturbances have major impacts on the health and vitality of the world’s forests and can result in substantial economic and environmental losses. They can have adverse effects on tree growth and survival, yield and quality of wood and non-wood products, wildlife habitat, recreation and scenic and cultural values. Global climate change is exacerbating these impacts and there is still major uncertainty about the interactions between disturbance, climate change and forests.
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Updating guidance on forest health and phytosanitary measures
Dendroctonus micans (ph. Gilles San Martin) With increasing global trade, new threats to forest health emerge due to the increased risk and frequency of trade-driven international pest movement. In the last decade, several pests have been introduced into other countries, continents and regions through international trade, and these have contributed to the international recognition of the importance of phytosanitary measures.
FAO, using an integrated approach to manage forest health problems, produced the Guide to implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry. The Guide provides easy to understand information about everything one should know to help protect forests from pests including International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPMs) and how they apply to forestry.
ISPMs provide guidance that is broadly applicable for forest health, monitoring, the safe transfer of germplasm, and trade in trees and forest products. The Guide interprets the standards relevant to international forestry pest risks into the language and framework of forest health, outlining how generic principles and measures, such as pest risk analysis and surveillance, can be applied by forest health agencies and forest managers at all levels. It focusses on the best practices that can be implemented in forestry activities to better support the goals of ISPMs.
The FAO Forestry Department has embarked on a project to amend the Guide, originally published in 2011. At the time of publishing, there were 34 adopted ISPMs. Currently there are 44 ISPMs (as of October 2021), many of which are directly relevant to the forest sector. In addition to new ISPMs, many updates and revisions to existing standards have been made in the last decade.
Ensuring that those people responsible for managing forests and forest health have current, relevant information and clear guidance for effective implementation is best practice to ensure good forest management, minimize pest spread, and facilitate safe trade.
The project will build upon the existing Guide, incorporating new advancements in forestry practices, and new information on ISPMs where applicable and relevant to the forest sector. It will focus on practical activities in the forest sector that help support the goals of the standards.
An updated draft of the Guide is underway and will be reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders before finalization.
Dr. Shiroma Sathyapala