Ecological Risk Assessment Framework for Biological Control Agents

  • Heikki M. T. Hokkanen
  • Franz Bigler
  • Giovanni Burgio
  • Joop C. Van Lenteren
  • Matt B. Thomas
Part of the Progress in Biological Control book series (PIBC, volume 1)


In the past 100 years many exotic natural enemies have been imported, mass reared and released as biological control agents. Negative environmental effects of these releases have rarely been reported (e.g., Lynch et al. 2001). To ensure the continuing safety and positive public image of biological control, many countries are requiring risk assessment for all biological control agents. This is new for macro-organisms in inundative use, although as classical agents these have always been strictly regulated, at least for weed biocontrol. Microbial control agents have historically first been tested and applied at a small scale, and without many restrictions. Regulatory authorities first became interested in them when larger scale production and application became possible. The main worry with microbials in the beginning has been worker safety and the safety of consumers: is the production or application of these biocontrol agents safe for the personnel involved (e.g., toxic metabolites) and for the general public, in case of their usage on edible crops? As a consequence, microbial control agents have been subject to regulatory approval (e.g., EU Directive 91/414). Macroscopic organisms used in inundative control, such as nematodes, mites and insect parasitoids, usually have been exempted from these regulations.


Biological Control Natural Enemy Ecological Risk Risk Index Biological Control Agent 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heikki M. T. Hokkanen
  • Franz Bigler
  • Giovanni Burgio
  • Joop C. Van Lenteren
  • Matt B. Thomas

There are no affiliations available

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