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Canberra, Australia

Braby M.F.,Khan Research Laboratories | Braby M.F.,Australian National University | Nielsen J.,Biosecurity Services Group
Journal of Insect Conservation | Year: 2011

The conservation status of Attacus wardi, a large iconic moth endemic to north-western Australia, is reviewed based on new data. Available evidence on the spatial distribution, critical habitat and threatening processes suggests the species qualifies as threatened according to IUCN Red List Criteria, and that its conservation status nationally should be revised from Endangered to Vulnerable. The species depends on relatively large patches of wet and dry coastal tropical monsoon forest, and it has the potential to be an important flagship species for the conservation of these ecological communities. Further studies are needed to determine minimum patch size and spatial connectivity among patches to support viable populations of the moth. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Robinson A.,University of Melbourne | Burgman M.A.,University of Melbourne | Cannon R.,Biosecurity Services Group
Ecological Applications | Year: 2011

Allocating resources to detect invasive pests, diseases, and pathogens on exposure pathways requires a trade-off between the need to detect as many contaminated items as possible and the need to acquire knowledge about contamination rates. We develop a model and an algorithm that provide guidance for the allocation of inspection resources across multiple dynamic pathways in cases where not every item can be inspected. The model uses a null hypothesis that the contamination rate of a pathway is above a specified level: a risk cutoff. Pathways with a risk above the cutoff are fully inspected, and those with a risk below the cutoff level are monitored at a rate that would detect a change of the risk to being above the cutoff level with high probability. We base our decision on the 95% upper confidence limit for the contamination rate. We demonstrate via simulations and a data set that focusing inspection resources on specific pathways can result in substantially more effective intervention, and that the reduction in overall effectiveness of monitoring low-risk pathways need not be substantial. Use of the model demands the selection of the risk cutoff, and this limit can be set according to projected consequences. © 2011 by the Ecological Society of America.

Singh S.,Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics | Davey S.,Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics | Cole M.,Biosecurity Services Group
New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science | Year: 2010

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the level of threats to forests and vegetation will increase in the 21st century. Rising temperatures, drought, forest fires, heavy rains, humidity and cyclones will render forests and vegetation more prone to many threats, including pests and diseases. Pests and diseases adapted to warmer conditions would extend their distribution to the southern direction and higher elevations in Australia. Drought stressed plants may become more susceptible to existing pests and diseases, including bark beetles and Phytophthora spp. A range of exotic pests and diseases, if introduced, may cause widespread damage in Australia. Managing sustainable productivity inter alia requires realistic evaluation of impacts of climate change on potential threats to forests and the ecosystem services they provide, including as a carbon sink. Such evaluations of threats will assist future planning including prudent use of silvicultural practices to mitigate possible threats. Climate models can enable: better understanding of future threats to Australia's forests and vegetation and related ecosystem services; and better preparedness to safeguard Australia's natural resources in a changing climate. Forest management systems and plans can incorporate measures for mitigating the changing risks associated with pests, diseases, weeds, drought and fire. They can include contingency plans for the emergency salvage of damaged or dead standing timber to prevent damaged forest stands from becoming a source of greenhouse gas emissions. © 2010 New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited, trading as Scion.

Garner M.G.,Biosecurity Services Group | Hamilton S.A.,Biosecurity Services Group | Hamilton S.A.,University of Sydney
OIE Revue Scientifique et Technique | Year: 2011

Epidemiological modelling can be a powerful tool to assist animal health policy development and disease prevention and control. Models can vary from simple deterministic mathematical models through to complex spatially-explicit stochastic simulations and decision support systems. The approach used will vary depending on the purpose of the study, how well the epidemiology of a disease is understood, the amount and quality of data available, and the background and experience of the modellers. Epidemiological models can be classified into various categories depending on their treatment of variability, chance and uncertainty (deterministic or stochastic), time (continuous or discrete intervals), space (non-spatial or spatial) and the structure of the population (homogenous or heterogeneous mixing). The increasing sophistication of computers, together with greater recognition of the importance of spatial elements in the spread and control of disease, mean that models which incorporate spatial components are becoming more important in epidemiological studies. Multidisciplinary approaches using a range of new technologies make it possible to build more sophisticated models of animal disease. New generation epidemiological models enable disease to be studied in the context of physical, economic, technological, health, media and political infrastructures. To be useful in policy development, models must be fit for purpose and appropriately verified and validated. This involves ensuring that the model is an adequate representation of the system under study and that its outputs are sufficiently accurate and precise for the intended purpose. Finally, models are just one tool for providing technical advice, and should not be considered in isolation from data from experimental and field studies.

Zahid I.,Biosecurity Services Group | Grgurinovic C.,Biosecurity Services Group | Zaman T.,Biosecurity Services Group | de Keyzer R.,Sydney Water | Cayzer L.,Biosecurity Services Group
Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research | Year: 2012

Lack of accurate tools for detecting insect infestation in timber remains a big challenge for pest management authorities. Seven non-destructive insect detection technologies were used to assess their effectiveness in detecting insect borers and termites in timber samples. These technologies were: Termatrac®; Tramex Moisture tester; Acoustic Emission Device (AED-200L®); X-ray, thermal imaging camera; a termite detector dog; and trained quarantine inspectors using standard visual inspection (VI). The timber samples of Acacia parramattensis and Acacia decurrens used for the trial were naturally infested timber branches; timber blocks inoculated with lyctine beetles; timber blocks naturally infested with termites; and un-infested controls. All timber samples used were destructively sampled at the end of the trial to confirm the presence or absence of insects. The detector dog was 100% effective in detecting natural infested termite colonies but was totally ineffective in detecting termites on artificially inoculated timber blocks. The moisture metre and the thermal image camera were 100% effective in detecting large termite colonies but ineffective in detecting other insects in dry timber samples. The effectiveness of other methods of detecting insects or termites varied considerably. The AED was 79% effective, Termatrac 70%, X-ray 40% and VI 35%. Implications of these findings for quarantine and inspection purposes are discussed. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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