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Bugging out: NC State researchers help track wayward pests through mapping
Date:5/4/2010

Tracking invasive pests around the world sounds like it would make for an interesting show on the Discovery Channel. However, the work that goes into tracking these species is less "Deadliest Catch" and more "Dirty Jobs." Researchers at North Carolina State University partnered with scientists and analysts from around the globe to determine recommendations to improve pest-risk mapping to better inform decision makers on where and how to best combat pests.

"We use pest-risk maps to estimate where invasive species might arrive, establish, spread or cause harmful impacts," says Dr. Roger Magarey, senior researcher at NC State. "This provides decision makers the insight to determine whether management prevention, eradication, containment or suppression is needed, and which option is most appropriate."

Species that have the potential to cause harmful ecological, economic or social impacts in an area of concern are considered "pests." Maps are created as visual representations of pest risk. However, the various methods used to create these maps can potentially yield very different depictions of risk for the same species. Pest-risk mapping is part of a greater risk assessment which informs pest management. Pest-risk assessments help determine the degree of risk a pest might represent, and influence where land management agencies, regulatory agencies and agricultural groups should allocate the most resources and what specific actions to take in order to protect our forests, agriculture and other natural resources.

Researchers developed a set of guidelines to improve risk mapping including things such as increasing international collaboration, incorporating climate change and providing training in pest-risk modeling. Their recommendations were published in the May issue of BioScience. Dr. Frank Koch, a research assistant professor at NC State, focused his work on a recommendation around improving the representation of uncer
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Contact: Caroline M. Barnhill
caroline_barnhill@ncsu.edu
919-515-6251
North Carolina State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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