ISPM 15 is an international standard for wood packaging material. The standard is an international treaty that went into effect in 2004. Currently there are over 170 countries that are abiding by the treaty. The purpose of ISPM 15 is to prevent the transport of invasive species between countries. Wood packaging material is the most common vehicle for insects to be transported from one eco area to another. Various species of beetles bore into trees and plant eggs. If the tree is harvested and cut into lumber for wood packaging, the implanted larvae can ultimately be brought to another country or continent.
The main issue with invasive species is that often they have no natural predator in the new environment that they are brought to. With no natural predator, they can thrive and overwhelm the eco system.
One case is the Asian Long Horn Beetle. This beetle was believed to be transported from China via wood packaging material in the mid 1990’s. They were found to infest trees in the north east area of the US. Since there discovery, significant efforts were made to control and eradicate this pest. It turns out that chemical spray has been effective in killing this beetle. Many areas that had infested trees are declaring victory over this beetle. Most recently the USDA is starting its final surveys to determine eradication of the Asian Longhorned Beetle in the Boston Massachusetts area.
The Missouri area has its own infestation issue. The invasive Pine Shoot Beetle was discovered last year. The beetle comes from Europe and feeds off new pine shoots, stunting the growth of those trees.
Recently a shipment from Russia was intercepted and re-exported from the US. The shipment contained an exotic wood-boring beetle known as Monochamus Galloprovinialis. Border protection agricultural specialists work to insure that imported cargo is not infested with pests or harmful plant diseases.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invasive species cause over 120 billion dollars in damage each year. There are currently over 4000 specified species in the US that are classified as invasive. Invasive species are not just insects; they include fish, reptiles, birds and plants.
Wood Packaging on international cargo is just one source of invasive species. The ISPM 15 treaty has been very effective in reducing transport of wood boring insects. Each year more countries are adapting the treaty and the regulations are constantly updated.