Several coastal areas of Southern Norway probably have sufficiently mild climate for the citrus longhorn beetle Anoplophora chinensis to establish and cause major damage to parks, gardens, and forests. These are conclusions made by the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) in a risk assessment commissioned by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
VKM considers the probability of an establishment of A. chinensis in Norway to be moderately likely.
The level of uncertainty behind this conclusion is high, mainly due to lack of data concerning cold tolerance and ability of the beetle to survive cold winters.
Pathways for entry and spread
Import of host plants for planting, especially Acer spp. from Asia, is considered to represent the highest probability for the pest to enter Norway. This way of entry is considered as very likely, with a medium level of uncertainty.
If A. chinensis should establish, the spread of the pest within Norway is considered as moderately likely, with a low level of uncertainty. The mechanism for long-distance spread is already present through distribution of plants for planting. Natural spread will probably be local.
Major economic consequences
VKM considers the potential damage of A. chinensis as major, with medium level of uncertainty. A. chinensis has caused major economic damage in all areas where it has been introduced. A. chinensis is polyphagous and capable of killing trees of many genera. It is therefore assumed that A. chinensis might cause major damage to parks, gardens and forests if the pest should establish in Norway.
A. chinensis is registered in several European countries and in North America, where the pest has proven to be highly adaptable, and to present a threat to ecosystems and many economically important tree species.
A. chinensis is on the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) A2 list, which means that EPPO recommends its member countries to regulate A. chinensis as a quarantine pest.
The risk assessment
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority will consider whether A. chinensis should be regulated as a quarantine pest in Norway, and whether specific phytosanitary measures should be introduced to prevent entry and establishment in Norway.
VKM’s Panel on Plant Health is responsible for the risk assessment.