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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jul 5;113(27):7575-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1602205113. Epub 2016 Jun 20.

Global threat to agriculture from invasive species.

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Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia; Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, Bruce, ACT 2617, Australia;
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia;
Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Bunbury, WA 6230, Australia; School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia;
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia;
Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand;
Department of Entomology, Penn State University, State College, PA 16802; Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Penn State University, State College, PA 16802.


Invasive species present significant threats to global agriculture, although how the magnitude and distribution of the threats vary between countries and regions remains unclear. Here, we present an analysis of almost 1,300 known invasive insect pests and pathogens, calculating the total potential cost of these species invading each of 124 countries of the world, as well as determining which countries present the greatest threat to the rest of the world given their trading partners and incumbent pool of invasive species. We find that countries vary in terms of potential threat from invasive species and also their role as potential sources, with apparently similar countries sometimes varying markedly depending on specifics of agricultural commodities and trade patterns. Overall, the biggest agricultural producers (China and the United States) could experience the greatest absolute cost from further species invasions. However, developing countries, in particular, Sub-Saharan African countries, appear most vulnerable in relative terms. Furthermore, China and the United States represent the greatest potential sources of invasive species for the rest of the world. The analysis reveals considerable scope for ongoing redistribution of known invasive pests and highlights the need for international cooperation to slow their spread.


NIS; fungal pathogens; insect pests; trade

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