Biological Invasions

, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 3243–3257 | Cite as

A risk categorisation and analysis of the geographic and temporal dynamics of the European import of plants for planting

  • René EschenEmail author
  • Jacob C. Douma
  • Jean-Claude Grégoire
  • François Mayer
  • Ludovic Rigaux
  • Roel P. J. Potting
Forest Invasions


The international trade in plants for planting (P4Ps) is a major pathway for the introduction of plant pests. The global trade in P4Ps is both voluminous and highly diverse, but there is little detailed knowledge about its diversity and dynamics. This makes it difficult to assess the risks associated with this trade and to prioritise high-risk commodities (genus-origin combinations) for detailed inspection or regulation. Using the ISEFOR database, this paper describes the diversity and dynamics of P4P imports into the EU, based on genus-level data for lots imported into fourteen Member States that provided this data for different periods between 2005 and 2014, totalling over 30Bn plants and over 7500 commodities. There was great variety, as well as complementarity, in terms of the imported genera, origins and commodities among the countries. Two-thirds of the imported commodities changed every year. Based on the 10-year data from the Netherlands, the greatest importer of live plants in the dataset, we developed a risk categorisation approach for prioritising the highest risk commodities, based on risk associated information concerning the imported genus and the history of trade with respect to the exporting countries, genera and type of plant material traded. Application of this risk categorisation led to the identification of a modest number of commodities that represent elevated risk, to which more inspection resources can be allocated while lower-risk commodities could be subject to less-intensive phytosanitary inspections.


Plants for planting Harmful organisms Pathway risk analysis International trade Biosecurity Prioritisation 



The authors owe thanks to the countries that provided the data. This work received funding through the EU-funded research project ISEFOR, COST Actions PERMIT (FP1104) and Global Warning (FP1401) and from the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research. RE received a grant of the OECD to present this work during the meeting of the IUFRO Task Force on Biological Invasions in Forests in Shepherdstown, WV, on 18–21 July 2016. We are grateful to two reviewers for their time and constructive comments.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 28 kb)
10530_2017_1465_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (379 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 379 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CABIDelémontSwitzerland
  2. 2.Centre for Crop Systems AnalysisWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Lutte biologique et Ecologie spatialeUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Office for Risk Assessment and ResearchNetherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety AuthorityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Département de l’Environnement et de l’EauNamurBelgium

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