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Biosecurity over the horizon: identifying invasive agricultural pests in China

This project will deliver a database comprising critical information to allow informed identification of potential risk invaders of New Zealand pastures, determine the degree of incursion risk, identify potential incursion pathways, and estimate the size of the economic risk to New Zealand. Additionally, where applicable, threats to native fauna and flora will be identified.


Initially the project focused on potential pests from China and identified 537 confirmed species from Chinese language scientific literature that warranted further investigation. Unfortunately, difficulty with travel during the COVID 19 pandemic curtailed work in China although close contact has been maintained with Chinese collaborators.


The project changed focus to Australian pastures in 2022. Recent collaborative work involving scientists from Cesar Australia, The University of Melbourne, PastureWise Australia, and AgResearch (including members of the project team) identified 150 pasture invertebrates of interest from 57 Australian dairy pastures and negated the need to undertake our own sampling of pastures.


During 2023 and 2024 literature searches to gather the necessary information to construct the database for the identified species are being undertaken. Data gathered on species consists of: Australian and world distributions, damage potential, ability to disperse, potential pathways to New Zealand, reproductive capability, climatic match of current range with New Zealand environments, availability of suitable habitat in New Zealand, and the economic and environmental risk to New Zealand.


Contact Project Leader Colin Fergusson: [email protected]