Invasive pests are a serious threat to forests in Canada and around the globe. Although this concern often has a lower profile than other forest sector topics, it remains a critical challenge to be addressed. Many devastating forest pests have been spread via wood packaging and other wood products, impacting the health of forests and their many functions including the forest-based economy. The potential to collapse export markets for the forest sector is additional and real concern. Analogous to the economic impact of mad cow disease, notions of particular pest issues in Canada can result in another country’s decision to halt the purchasing of any Canadian forest products, shutting down the entire market. However, armed with scientific data, treatments, and preventative actions for wood products that carry different pests, adverse market effects can be quelled.
Over the past 11 years, a new Standard to facilitate industry trade and to reduce the global movement of pests has been in development. Experts from FPInnovations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Canadian Forest Service were instrumental in bringing the concepts forward and continued to work jointly with the International Forest Quarantine Research Group, and other researchers and regulators through a cross-country consultative process to provide the relevant science and final consensus of the Standard. In April 2017, the Commission of Phytosanitary Measures, a governing body of International Plant Protection Convention based at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, formally adopted the International Movement of Wood Standard (ISPM 39).
Rather than being a prescriptive solution to adhere to as it is in standard that regulates wood packaging (ISPM 15), the intent of this new Standard is to provide guidance and a common approach to countries for establishing their own national policies and to facilitate trade negotiations with other countries. The need for this new Standard is vital for maintaining healthy Canadian and worldwide forests upon which the forest sector is dependent. “The Standard will assist with trade and safe transactions and avoid the use of unjustifiable, rushed measures that act as a barrier to trade,” says Adnan Uzunovic, Research Scientist at FPInnovations. “It will assist industry prevent the loss of markets, maintain existing markets, and open new markets for different products.”
The International Movement of Wood Standard will continue to evolve and progress over time. More Standards to be included are still in development, and additional research and data to support knowledge gaps and the realities of implementation are ongoing.
For more information, please contact Adnan Uzunovic.
This article was originally published in the 2016-2017 IMPACT magazine.