Building better forest health and biosecurity capacity in Southeast Asia
Lawson, SA and Healey, MA and Mohammed, CL and Glen, M and Warman, R, Building better forest health and biosecurity capacity in Southeast Asia, 3rd IUFRO Acacia Conference, 26-28 October 2021, Virtual Conference, Online (2021) [Conference Extract]
Forests face ever-increasing threats from exotic pests and diseases. Eucalypts and Acacias are grown extensively in Southeast Asia and are at risk from these invasive pests as well as from native pests adapting to these host trees. SE Asia has broad trade links within and outside the region, providing pathways on which pests move. These risks can be minimised by implementing targeted biosecurity measures. To develop and implement such measures successfully requires appropriate technical and policy capacity. Such capacity varies widely across SE Asia but is generally low, especially in low-income countries. There is therefore a need to increase forest health and biosecurity capacity in the region. In response to this need, an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) scoping project for the region determined current biosecurity capacity, knowledge, and priorities, reviewed regulations, laws, trade conventions, and treaties for biosecurity and summarised past and current investment in biosecurity within forestry, horticulture, and agriculture in the SE Asia region, and began to initiate and grow a network delivering coordinated responses and enhanced capability in the region. This includes bridging the link between forest and agricultural biosecurity institutions. From this review, two new four-year ACIAR projects in the region were developed, focusing on (1) establishing a forest biosecurity network and (2) developing the science tools to support the network. These projects also seek to protect previous investment by ACIAR in the region in forest health and biosecurity and in the genetic improvement of eucalypts and acacias.