Identifying Potential Pest Threats to Sitka Spruce Plantations in Ireland

  • Oral Presentation
  • Forestry and Horticulture
  • 12 Jun 2018 15:40
  • FS-G01, UCD Agriculture and food science Centre
  • View all IPSAM abstracts

Melanie Tuffen*

Helen Grogan

Shiela Nolan
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Rachel Wisdom
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Catriona Duffy
Maynooth University

*Presenting Author

Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is the most important commercial forestry species in Ireland. Over fifty percent of the Irish forest estate is made up of Sitka spruce plantations and forestry in Ireland contributes €2.3 billion to the economy each year. Forest pests can cause huge economic losses and impact on ecosystem services, and therefore it was considered high priority to identify potential pest threats to Sitka spruce in Ireland. A pest list was created containing over a 1000 pests and potential pests of spruce globally. Plants for planting are a very high risk pathway for the introduction of pests to new regions. A review of invasive forest pests in the USA concluded that nearly 70% of damaging forest insects and diseases introduced to the USA most likely entered on imported live plants. The pest list identified 874 pests and potential pests of Sitka spruce that could enter Ireland on the plants for planting pathway. The pest list was then further prioritised, and the risk of other 220 pests analysed in a pathway pest risk analysis. Currently, a number of economically important coniferous plants are prohibited from being imported from non-European countries into the EU. The analysis identified that a number of coniferous species, including redwoods (Sequoia) and arborvitaes (Thuja), could act as pathways of entry for major forest species grown in Ireland and across the EU.