Pest Risk Management Decision Document – Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle (Tetropium fuscum)
5.0 Background

Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle (BSLB) is a regulated pest in North America as it is known to be a pest of spruce trees. It was first identified by Canadian Forest Service (CFS) scientists in 1999 in Point Pleasant Park, adjacent to the port in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Native to northern and central Europe, its presence in an area can pose a threat to domestic and international trade of Canadian spruce products. It is thought to have arrived in Canada with wood packing material unloaded at the Port of Halifax. CFS also determined that specimens preserved from a 1990 survey of Point Pleasant Park were also T. fuscum, (originally mis-identified as T. cinnamopterum) indicating it was present since at least 1990.

Since being detected, BSLB has become established in central Nova Scotia, with several new detections found each year outside of the Containment Area established in 2007 (Appendix 1). In 2011 a single BSLB adult was captured in a trap in a national park in north-eastern New Brunswick, and another beetled was detected in 2014 in Memracook County, which represented the first finds of BSLB outside of Nova Scotia; however continued surveys indicate it is not established in New Brunswick.

From 2000 until the spring of 2006, eradication was pursued, involving the cutting and disposal of selected infested and high risk trees, and regulating high risk material movement through the issuance of Prohibitions of Movement and the Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle Infested Places Ministerial Order which defines the boundaries of the Infested Place. Point Pleasant Park was originally placed under a Notice of Prohibition of Movement, and intensive infested tree removal and disposal efforts were undertaken within the park and the surrounding Halifax metropolitan area from 2000 until 2006. Efforts were hampered in the fall of 2003 when Hurricane Juan cut a large swath across the centre of the Province, disrupting official control efforts. Subsequent studies carried out by CFS confirmed that spruce trees weakened and blown down by the hurricane provided breeding grounds for BSLB which led to rapid population build-up and spread, further hampering control efforts.

5.1 Pathways of spread

BSLB dispersal and spread occurs naturally via beetle flight, and also via human-assisted movement of spruce forest products. The movement of high risk spruce products from areas recognized as infested with the beetle is therefore restricted under Ministerial Order. Similar movement controls have been implemented at all satellite positive sites outside the Infested Place where BSLB has been detected. In 2006, based on the broad distribution of BSLB within the Infested Place and a number of positive BSLB finds outside the Infested Place, the CFIA switched approach from eradication to containment with regulatory control aimed at slowing its spread. With additional infested sites found throughout the 2006 survey season, the "Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle Infested Places Order - Second Revision" was implemented in the spring of 2007 to define an expanded Infested Place. Since 2007, with the aid of a more effective trap baited with a pheromone lure, surveillance for BSLB has resulted in additional detections, bringing the total number of sites with at least a single BSLB find outside the Infested Place to 106 (Appendix 1). The Infested Place now extends beyond the Halifax metropolitan area.

5.2 Drivers for change

The current approach, with individual controls on these 106 sites, does not appear to be fully effective at slowing the spread of this pest, nor is it an effective use of management efforts. The US regulates the entire province of Nova Scotia for the export of spruce logs and firewood, as the basis for appropriate containment of the pest. Further detections of BSLB outside Nova Scotia could result in the US expanding its regulations to include the neighbouring provinces. Maritime industry stakeholders have indicated that they ship a relatively low volume of unprocessed spruce exports to the US from Nova Scotia, however, the forestry industry of other provinces may be negatively affected should they be regulated by the United States in the future.

The current regulatory approach places movement restrictions on spruce products and forest product facilities within Nova Scotia. Movement restrictions imposed on spruce articles moving from the 106 infested sites not bound within the Infested Place causes logistical sourcing and processing problems for the industry. In 2013, a re-analysis of various spruce article risk pathways resulted in the removal of spruce bark and wood chips from the list of regulated articles; subsequently only spruce logs (round-wood) and firewood remain regulated.

5.3 CFIA contributions

Invasive species have increasingly become recognized as a significant concern as worldwide trade and travel have significantly increased opportunities for their introduction and subsequent domestic spread. The list of regulated pests in Canada contains over 250 species, and federal legislative control through inspection, regulation and enforcement is the key phytosanitary measures employed to mitigate the risks they pose, in conjunction with the development, adoption and implementation of appropriate International Standards for Phytosanitary Management (ISPMs) by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). However, many commodities cannot be easily inspected, and the volume of importations that can be inspected is always limited in scope and time, so effective regulation relies increasingly on systems approaches and on the support of all stakeholders. Therefore, communication and public outreach are key components of the CFIA's mitigation efforts to raise awareness and garner involvement and support in managing the threat from invasive pests. The CFIA invests significant effort in outreach, and CFIA employees are regularly involved in a variety of public events to increase awareness of quarantine pests that are considered invasive.

Some of the risk-mitigation and management activities that the CFIA delivers include:

  • Conducting pest risk assessments prior to the importation of new commodities
  • Restriction of the introduction and spread of quarantine pests through import policies, border controls and point-of-destination product inspections
  • Surveillance, to monitor pest presence and distribution
  • Enforcement of regulations and associated policies
  • Enhancing public awareness of risk and regulations

The CFIA has implemented numerous import control policies in order to restrict the entry and establishment of invasive plant pests. Since 1998, through its regulatory efforts on dunnage and other wood products, the CFIA has targeted high-risk import pathways through policies such as D-98-08 (Entry requirements for wood packaging materials produced in all areas other than the continental United States), stipulating requirements such as dunnage reclamation at marine ports, and a requirement for all off-continent wood products to be heat-treated or fumigated. This is in keeping with Canada's obligations as a member of IPPC. The CFIA import policy D-02-12 (Import requirements of non-manufactured wood and other non-propagative wood products, except solid wood packaging material, from all areas other than the continental United States) stipulates phytosanitary import requirements for non-manufactured wood products such as logs, wood chips, and decorative wood items from all countries except the Continental U.S.

Because of the high level of risk associated with the movement of firewood, the CFIA has carried out an extensive Don't Move Firewood campaign. Since 2008, thousands of brochures, posters and other communications products have been distributed annually through collaboration with partners. In addition, road signage highlighting the risks of moving firewood has been installed in several provinces. The CFIA also participates in public shows and exhibits in order to educate the general public about the risks of moving firewood. The CFIA has prioritized continued work on the firewood pathway (harmonising with the U.S.), drafting a proposal to revise Canada's firewood import policy in order to require heat-treatment of firewood, as well as exploring options to strengthen domestic movement risk-mitigation measures.

In 2004, the CFIA implemented ISPM 15, Regulation of wood packaging material in international trade¸ which has required all wood packaging imported to Canada from outside of continental North America to be treated to kill any wood-related pests that may be present. Given the volume of wood packaging moving in international trade, this is understood to have had a significant impact on the entry of quarantine pests of trees and forests.

5.4 Stakeholder engagement

The CFIA continues to engage with stakeholders at the national and regional levels, including outreach and surveillance efforts with federal, provincial, and industry partners. At the beginning of the BSLB eradication effort in 2000, a BSLB Task Force, comprised of representatives from the three levels of government, university and industry was formed to provide advice to the CFIA. Since 2008, the CFIA and Natural Resources Canada-CFS have co-chaired a BSLB steering committee, with participation including members from federal and provincial governments, as well as industry stakeholders, with the objective of developing a collaborative management response to BSLB. Federal membership is comprised of representatives of the CFIA, the CFS, and Parks Canada; provincial representation is based on Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; and industry representation is comprised of members from the Maritime Lumber Bureau, the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia, the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners, and the New Brunswick Forest Products Association. The CFIA has also maintained contact with other potentially affected provinces in order to keep them informed of upcoming changes to the management of BSLB and other forest pests. The CFIA is engaged in consultations with federal and provincial partners on a National Forest Pest Strategy, a comprehensive intergovernmental body that reports to the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. This engagement provides a common venue for discussion of key forest pests such as BSLB, and outlines guiding principles for their collaborative management on an ongoing basis.

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