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Annu Rev Entomol. 2006;51:609-34.

Assessing risks of releasing exotic biological control agents of arthropod pests.

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  • 1Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.


More than 5000 introductions of about 2000 species of exotic arthropod agents for control of arthropod pests in 196 countries or islands during the past 120 years rarely have resulted in negative environmental effects. Yet, risks of environmental effects caused by releases of exotics are of growing concern. Twenty countries have implemented regulations for release of biological control agents. Soon, the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM3) will become the standard for all biological control introductions worldwide, but this standard does not provide methods by which to assess environmental risks. This review summarizes documented nontarget effects and discusses the development and application of comprehensive and quick-scan environmental risk assessment methods.

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