Global transport presents biosecurity risks to Australia

Adelaide researchers have developed tools to identify high-risk invasive species and work out where they are likely to come from.

“When invasive species such as agricultural pests enter Australia, they can cause substantial damage to both our economy and environment”, says Dr Robert Cope, who co-authored the research.

“Australia’s biosecurity is world-leading, but it is critical to maintain effective surveillance and management policies. Our research will provide decision-makers with further information to inform the allocation of limited biosecurity resources.”

The researchers incorporated data on global trade, flights, shipping environmental conditions, geography, and potential insect pest species with mathematical models to identify high-risk locations and species.

The agricultural pests identified as high-risk included species capable of impacting Australian crops including citrus, mangoes, avocadoes, and timber.

“The technologies we developed are not just applicable to agricultural pests in Australia, but could be applied to assess risks in other species groups or other countries,” Robert says.

“It is critical that we use all the data that are available to empower decision makers to make effective biosecurity decisions, protecting our economy and the environment.”

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