Ten invasive alien plant species submitted to the EPPO Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations
In parallel to the ten invasive alien plant species (Ambrosia confertiflora, Andropogon virginicus, Cortaderia jubata, Ehrharta calycina, Hakea sericea, Humulus scandens, Lespedeza cuneata, Lygodium japonicum, Prosopis juliflora and Triadica sebifera) being considered for inclusion on the list of invasive alien species of Union concern, the PRAs are also being prepared for the EPPO Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations (WPPR) which meets in June this year. The WPPR will assess the PRAs and if they are approved for listing the PRAs will be sent to the EPPO Council in September 2018 for endorsement for listing. If approved, the PRAs will be included on the A1 or A2 list of pests recommended for regulation as quarantine pests.
Final ten PRAs submitted to the European Commission
In February the final ten PRAs were submitted to the European Commission for consideration by the Scientific Forum for potential listing on the list of invasive alien species of Union concern. The PRAs submitted included the following species: Ambrosia confertiflora, Andropogon virginicus, Cortaderia jubata, Ehrharta calycina, Hakea sericea, Humulus scandens, Lespedeza cuneata, Lygodium japonicum, Prosopis juliflora and Triadica sebifera.
In June 2017, four risk assessments (Salvinia molesta, Pistia stratiotes, Gymnocoronis spilanthoides and Cardiospermum grandiflorum) were submitted to the EPPO Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations with recommendations for regulation and subsequently approved for listing by the Working Party. The EPPO Council endorsed the listing in September 2017 and all four species were added to the EPPO A2 List of pests recommended for regulation as quarantine pests. The Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations also agreed on the expert working groups recommendation of a low risk score for Hygrophila polysperma and Cinnamomum camphora.
In parallel, to the EPPO process, each risk assessment currently being evaluated by the Scientific Forum for inclusion on the list of Union concern.
Under the LIFE funded project, EPPO has conducted two training workshops on (1) the prioritization of invasive alien plants and (2) pest risk analysis of invasive alien plants:
In total 13 participants attended each training workshop where combined with introductory lectures and practical exercises participants learnt to prioritize and risk assess invasive plant species. In the prioritization workshop participants came prepared with a list of invasive species they wanted to assess for priority for risk assessment. During the second workshop participants divided into three small groups where each group risk assessed on plant species. At the end of each training workshop the participants present their results to the all.
In January 2017, under the LIFE Project, two pest risk analysis were performed on two grass species - Ehrharta calycina and Andropogon virginicus. Experts from the UK, the Netherlands, the United States, Austria, South Africa and EPPO met for a week-long meeting to evaluate the risks of these species to the EPPO region. In detail, the biology and ecology of both species were assessed, along with an evaluation of pathways for entry and spread potential, along with impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and the economy were evaluated. During the meeting species distribution models were produced which provide projections on the current and future distribution of the species within the EPPO region.
When faced with a large number of invasive, or potentially invasive alien plant species prioritization is an essential component to focus limited resources on those species which pose the greatest risks. When considering alien plant species for the whole EPPO region or for species under the Plant Health Regulation, the original EPPO prioritization process for invasive alien plants is the preferred tool to use. However, when considering alien plants under the EU Regulation no. 1143/2014 and within the remit of the LIFE IAP-RISK project, EPPO has adapted the original prioritization process into a stand-alone tool specially designed to incorporate the requirements of the Regulation. Similar to the original, the prioritization process for EU invasive alien plants acts as a first step to determine which species have the highest priority for a pest risk analysis. The prioritization process for EU invasive alien plants has two stages where stage 1 prioritises species into one of four lists (EU List of Invasive Alien Plants, EU Observation List, EU List of Minor Concern and the Residual List). Only those species with a medium to high spread potential coupled with high impacts on native species or ecosystem services are included in the EU List of Invasive Alien Plants and are further evaluated in Stage 2 – the risk management stage. In this second stage, five questions are asked to determine the potential for further spread, establishment, and if preventative or management actions can be applied for the species in a cost-effective manner. The output of Stage 2 is to prioritize those species which have the highest priority for a risk assessment at the EU level compared to those species where national measures should apply.
The publication detailing the prioritization process (together with a flow diagram) for EU invasive alien plants is freely available in the EPPO Bulletin. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/epp.12336/full
Two expert working groups have been arranged for October 2016, where the first will risk assess two aquatic species, namely Gymnocoronis spilanthoides (Asteraceae) and Hygrophila polysperma (Acanthaceae). Two weeks after this a second expert working group will risk assess Cardiospermum grandiflorum (Sapindaceae) and Cinnamomum camphora (Lauraceae).
In May 2016, the first expert working group of the project was convened to risk assess two aquatic plant species under the LIFE project. Both Pistia stratiotes (Araceae: EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants) and Salvinia molesta (Salviniaceae: EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants) were risk assessed by 10 experts from 7 different countries, including South Africa and the USA where the species pose significant problems. The risk assessments will now undergo a full peer review before they are submitted to the European Commission.
In April 2016, a three-day workshop was held at the headquarters of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO), in Paris (FR), with the purpose to (1) amend the existing EPPO Prioritization Process for Invasive Alien Plants into an additional version specifically designed to incorporate the requirements of the Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014, and (2) to prioritise a list of 37 invasive alien plants for risk assessment under the Preparatory LIFE funded project ‘Mitigating the threat of invasive alien plants in the EU through pest risk analysis to support the EU Regulation 1143/2014’.
The workshop was comprised of experts from the EPPO Panel on Invasive Alien Plants, the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the EPPO Secretariat.
Following the amendment of the EPPO Prioritization Process, 16 alien plant species were prioritised for risk assessment using the new tool.
Note : we will shortly be publishing the amended version of the prioritization process which can be used for invasive alien plants under the requirements of the Regulation. However, when considering invasive alien plant species for the whole of the EPPO region, or for species under the Plant Health Regulation, the original EPPO prioritization process for invasive alien plants remains the optimum tool.
The 16 invasive alien plant species prioritised for a risk assessment within the LIFE project are:
Ambrosia confertiflora is a perennial herb native to northern Mexico and the south-west of the United States. The species has been introduced to Australia and Israel. A. confertiflora has severe agricultural and environmental impacts, and its pollen is a severe allergen to humans. This species has a limited distribution in the EPPO region and can be considered an emerging invader.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/FRSCO
Andropogon virginicus is a perennial grass native to North and Central America. Prior to 2006, the only report from the EPPO region was in Russia. In 2006, it was first found in France in a military camp (‘Camp du Poteau’ – located partly in Gironde and Landes departments). The population in France has multiplied significantly in the infested area (from 2 to 500 plants in two years) and as the species is considered to be invasive in other parts of the world, Andropogon virginicus can be considered as an emerging invader in the EPPO region.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/ANOVI
Cardiospermum grandiflorum is a climbing vine originating from tropical Africa and Central and South America. It is used as an ornamental plant. It only reproduces by seeds, which are spread by wind and water. The plant smothers other plants in riparian habitats and forests, and is considered invasive in South Africa and Australia. In the EPPO region, it is recorded in Sicilia (IT), the Canary Islands (ES) and Madeira (PT).
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/CRIGR
Cinnamomum camphora is a tall tree species originating from East Asia. The species reproduces by seed which are often spread by birds and water. C. camphora is naturalised in Australia, Southern USA, Southern Europe and East Africa. Where the species invades, it forms a dense canopy which can displace native plant species. Although C. camphora has a limited occurrence in the wild in EPPO region, the species is widely planted as an ornamental. Due to its impacts in other regions of the world, evaluating the potential risks for this species is warranted.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/CINCA
Cortaderia jubata is a tall species of grass commonly known as pampas grass. Native to South America, C. jubata has been planted as an ornamental species and for forage, shelter and erosion control in a number of countries throughout the world. C. jubata is naturalised in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA where it is regarded as an invasive species. At present C. jubata is not present in the wild within the EPPO region but due to its impacts elsewhere an evaluation of the potential risks to native biodiversity from this species is warranted.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/CDTJU
Native to South Africa, Ehrharta calycina is a species of grass which often becomes weedy in regions where it has been introduced. It is regarded as an invasive species in California (USA) where it invades native shrub communities displacing native species and altering the structure of the ecosystem. In Australia, the species invades woodlands. Within the EPPO region, E. calycina has been introduced into Portugal and Spain.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/EHRCA
Gymnocoronis spilanthoides is a semi-aquatic emergent perennial plant native to South America. The species is used in the aquarium trade. Within the EPPO region, G. spilanthoides is recorded as invasive in Hungary. Because this plant has shown invasive behaviour where it has been introduced, it can be considered a potential future invader in Europe.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/GYNSP
Hakea sericea is a shrub originating from Australia. It has been voluntarily introduced for ornamental purposes, particularly to form protective hedges. In South Africa, H. sericea is highly invasive, outcompeting native plant species by forming dense monocultures. Within the EPPO region, the species is recorded in the South of France and in Spain, and is considered invasive in Portugal. Because its distribution is still limited, this plant can be considered a new emerging invader in Europe.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/HKASE
Humulus japonicus is an annual climber vine originating from East Asia. In Europe, H. japonicus recorded as invasive in France, Hungary and Italy. Because its distribution is still limited within the EPPO region, this species can be considered a new emerging invader.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/HUMJA
Hygrophila polysperma (common name: Indian swamp weed) is an aquatic perennial plant native to Asia. Within the EPPO region, the species is recorded as invasive in thermal waters in Germany and as a casual in Hungary and Poland. Considering the invasive behaviour of this species elsewhere in the world, it is considered that flowing freshwater bodies of the Mediterranean and temperate countries are at risk and therefore a risk assessment is warranted for this species.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/HYGPO
Lespedeza cuneata is an erect semi-woody forb which can reach 2 m in height. Native to Asia and Australia, L. cuneata invades grasslands and open forest communities often forming dense monocultures which compete with native species for light and nutrients. Currently L. cuneata is absent from the wild within the EPPO region but the impacts of the species in other regions of the world, and the fact that the species is available through horticulture within the EPPO region, warrant an evaluation of the risks the species may pose to the region.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/LESCU
Lygodium japonicum (commonly known as Japanese climbing fern) is a species of climbing fern native to East Asia. The species has been introduced into North America, where it has had a significant negative impact in commercial pine plantations. L. japonicum can impact on native plant species by reducing light penetration levels from the canopy. The species is currently absent from the wild within the EPPO region but an evaluation of its potential impacts is warranted especially as the plant is traded.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/LYFJA
Prosopis juliflora is a highly invasive thorny tree/shrub in some regions of the world where it has been introduced. Native to the Americas and introduced into Asia, Africa and Australia, P. juliflora can form thick impenetrable monocultures which degrade agricultural land and outcompete native biodiversity. As the species produces thick thorns which can pierce vehicle tyres and harm humans, P. juliflora has significant social impacts. Although the species currently has a limited distribution in the wild within the EPPO region (Jordan and Israel), areas of the Mediterranean may be conducive for its establishment. A risk assessment for the EPPO region will act to gather all available information on the species and evaluate if the species can establish and spread under current and future climatic conditions.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/PRCJU
Sapium sebiferum (commonly known as Chinese tallow tree) is a fast growing small tree species which produces a prolific amount of seeds which are dispersed by water, birds and man. Native to East Asia, S. sebiferum is currently reported as invasive in Australia, North America and Africa (South Africa, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia). Currently, the species is absent from the wild within the EPPO region, though the potential for its establishment is considered high.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/SAQSE
Pistia stratiotes is an aquatic plant originating from South America. It is extensively traded for ornamental and aquarium purposes. The plant is thought to spread via aquarium dumpings or escapees from ornamental ponds. It is an invasive plant often found in the tropics and subtropics. Its common name is water lettuce in English and laitue d’eau in French. In the EPPO region, the species is introduced to Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/PIIST
Salvinia molesta is a floating aquatic fern originating from South America. S. molesta has a limited distribution in the EPPO area, but is present in the wild. Although in EPPO countries the plant is reportedly restricted to small areas and has been subject to control measures, evidence from other parts of the world suggests that spread can be rapid, and impacts considerable if the species’ environmental requirements are met. A risk assessment is needed to evaluate the risks posed by this species.
EPPO Global Database: https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/SAVMO