21 February 2017
The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) met on 22 November 2016 to discuss the pest pine nematode (Bursaphelenchus vallesianus) and agreed that it is not technically feasible to eradicate from Australia.
The CCEPP was particularly concerned about the limited information available about pine nematode and its potential native beetle vectors. Pine nematode is known to have a wide distribution in New South Wales and has recently been detected in southeast Queensland, but it is unclear whether or not it is present in other states and territories. It is also difficult to determine if the nematode is causing deaths of pine trees or attacking trees that are already dying or stressed. In addition, it is not clear which native beetle vectors are transmitting the nematode.
Because of the lack of information about pine nematode, the CCEPP recommended that states and territories and affected industry groups carry out further research to get a better understanding of this pest and its potential impact on the forestry industry and environment.
The CCEPP recommended that the New South Wales government develop publicly available national guidelines for destruction of material infested with the nematode and for management of dead and dying Pinus species. This would also outline the hygiene requirements for equipment used in tree removal to minimise the risk of spreading the nematode by either beetle vectors or pine material (for example woodchips or tree sap).