Other Open Access
Brown, Paul; Lausch, Angela; Zarco-Tejada, Pablo; D'Onghia, Anna Maria; Nelson, Andy; Christiaens, François
Early detection is key to effective intervention in plant health. In order to respond better to outbreaks of new pests, we must either improve contingency planning or surveillance or both. Our contingency plans must deal with outbreaks of the size likely to be detected, and our surveillance must detect outbreaks before they outgrow our contingency plans. Too often pests are already widespread before their presence is detected, our contingency plans cannot cope with the scale of action needed and the newly introduced pest cannot be eradicated or contained.
Even without considering latent infection or cryptic infestation in the early stages of its presence, detection of a pest at a low level is challenging. Finding the first few trees or crops or forest areas with symptoms is, as the old English expression has it, “like looking for a needle in a haystack”. But with advances in scanning technology needles in haystacks are no longer as hard to find as they once were. If we continue to explain our problems not only to biologists but also to physicists, engineers and image analysis experts we may find that improving early detection is not only theoretically possible but increasingly affordable.
This colloquium, organised by EPPO and Euphresco and held in the week of the EPPO Council 2018, offers experts from different disciplines and managers of plant health services the opportunity to exchange experience and ideas in this important and rapidly developing area.