Optimal allocation of resources among general and species-specific tools for plant pest biosecurity surveillance

Hoa Nguyen, Long Chu, Andrew Liebhold, Rebecca Epanchin-Niell, John Kean, Tom Kompas, Andrew Robinson, Eckehard Brockerhoff, Joslin Moore

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    This paper proposes a surveillance model for plant pests that can optimally allocate resources among survey tools with varying properties. While some survey tools are highly specific for the detection of a single pest species, others are more generalized. There is considerable variation in the cost and sensitivity of these tools, but there are no guidelines or frameworks for identifying which tools are most cost-effective when used in surveillance programs that target the detection of newly invaded populations. To address this gap, we applied our model to design a trapping surveillance program in New Zealand for bark- and wood-boring insects, some of the most serious forest pests worldwide. Our findings show that exclusively utilizing generalized traps (GTs) proves to be highly cost-effective across a wide range of scenarios, particularly when they are capable of capturing all pest species. Implementing surveillance programs that only employ specialized traps (ST) is cost-effective only when these traps can detect highly damaging pests. However, even in such cases, they significantly lag in cost-effectiveness compared to GT-only programs due to their restricted coverage. When both GTs and STs are used in an integrated surveillance program, the total expected cost (TEC) generally diminishes when compared to programs relying on a single type of trap. However, this relative reduction in TEC is only marginally larger than that achieved with GT-only programs, as long as highly damaging species can be detected by GTs. The proportion of STs among the optimal required traps fluctuates based on several factors, including the relative pricing of GTs and STs, pest arrival rates, potential damage, and, more prominently, the coverage capacity of GTs. Our analysis suggests that deploying GTs extensively across landscapes appears to be more cost-effective in areas with either very high or very low levels of relative risk density, potential damage, and arrival rate. Finally, STs are less likely to be required when the pests that are detected by those tools have a higher likelihood of successful eradication because delaying detection becomes less costly for these species.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEcological Applications
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2024

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