APHIS Holding Online Discussion

January 19, 2007 - 09:40

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is hosting an electronic public discussion on methods used to evaluate the potential of imported plants to become invasive species if they are introduced into the United States. Anyone can register for the electronic discussion, which will allow participants to upload files and interact with other participants and with APHIS staff. To date, few industry members have joined in the discussion (most participants are regulators or non-industry scientists), and APHIS encourages feedback from everyone on the topic.

APHIS is specifically asking for industry input on six questions:

  1. What criteria, other than whether the plant has a history of invasiveness elsewhere, are most useful to determine the invasiveness of a plant introduced into the United States for the first time?
  2. When there is little or no existing scientific literature or other information describing the invasiveness of a plant species, how much should be extrapolated from information on congeners (other species within the same genus)?
  3. What specific scientific experiments should be conducted to best evaluate a plant's invasive potential? Should these experiments be conducted in a foreign area, in the United States or both?
  4. How should the results of such experiments be interpreted? Specifically, what results should be interpreted as providing conclusive information for a regulatory decision?
  5. If field trials are necessary to determine the invasive potential of a plant, under what conditions should the research be conducted to prevent the escape of the plant into the environment?
  6. What models or techniques are being used by the nursery industry, weed scientists, seed companies, botanical gardens and others to screen plants that have not yet been widely introduced into the United States for invasiveness? What species have been rejected by these evaluators as a result of the use of these evaluation methods?

The electronic public discussion will take place through Jan. 26, 2007. It can be accessed at www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/Q37/revision.html.

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