A worldwide perspective of the legislation and regulations governing sentinel plants

  • Anna Maria Vettraino
  • Alberto SantiniEmail author
  • Christo Nikolov
  • Jean-Claude Grégoire
  • Rumen Tomov
  • Andrei Orlinski
  • Tiit Maaten
  • Halldór Sverrisson
  • Bjørn Økland
  • René Eschen
Original Paper


Sentinel plants, plants in exporting countries that are inspected at regular intervals for signs and symptoms of invertebrate pests and microbial pathogens, are a promising tool for detecting and identifying harmful organisms of woody plants prior to their introduction into importing countries. Monitoring of sentinel plants reveals crucial information for pest risk analyses and the development of mitigation measures. The establishment of sentinel plants requires the import and plantation of non-native plants, which may be affected by the laws, regulations and administrative procedures in the individual countries. To evaluate the feasibility of sentinel plants as a global approach, this study aimed to summarise regulations and administrative procedures that affect the establishment of sentinel plants using non-native plants in countries worldwide. Information about national regulations of import and planting of non-native plant species was collected through a questionnaire survey, conducted among national representatives to the International Plant Protection Convention. Over 40 countries responded. The results show that legislations and regulations should not be major obstacles for a global use of the sentinel plants approach. However, the few existing experiences show that it can be complicated in practice. Here we describe the current state of art of the procedures that should be adopted to establish sentinel plants and we propose a strategy to circumvent the shortcomings resulting from the lack of a specific regulation.


Sentinel plants Import Plantations Alien tree species National regulations 



This work was financially supported by COST Action Global Warning (FP1401). RE’s contribution was also supported by CABI with core financial support from its member countries (see for details).

Supplementary material

10530_2019_2098_MOESM1_ESM.docx (34 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 34 kb)


  1. Adua M (1999) The sweet chestnut throughout history from the Miocene to the Third Millennium. Acta Hortic 494:29–36. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Almeida RPP, Nunney L (2015) How do plant diseases caused by Xylella fastidiosa emerge? Plant Dis 99:1457–1467. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Anagnostakis SL (1987) Chestnut blight: the classical problem of an introduced pathogen. Mycologia 79:23–27. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anonymous (1992) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and floraGoogle Scholar
  5. Anonymous (1997) Council Regulation of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade thereinGoogle Scholar
  6. Anonymous (1999) Council Directive 1999/105/CE of of 22 December 1999 on the marketing of forest reproductive materialGoogle Scholar
  7. Anonymous (2000) Council Directive 2000/29/EC of 8 May 2000 on protective measures against the introduction into the community of organisms harmful to plants or plant products and against their spread within the communityGoogle Scholar
  8. Anonymous (2014) Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 of The European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien speciesGoogle Scholar
  9. Aukema J, Leung B, Kovacs K, Chivers C, Britton K, Englin J, Frankel S, Haight R, Holmes T, Liebhold A, McCullough D, Von Holle B (2011) Economic impacts of non-native forest insects in the continental United States. PLoS ONE 6:e24587. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Britton K, White P, Kramer A, Hudler G (2010) A new approach to stopping the spread of invasive insects and pathogens: early detection and rapid response via a global network of sentinel plantings. NZ J For Sci 40:109–114Google Scholar
  11. Carnegie AJ, Matsuki M, Haugen DA, Hurley BP, Ahumada R, Klasmer P, Sun J, Iede ET (2006) Predicting the potential distribution of Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: siricidae), a significant exotic pest of Pinus plantations. Ann For Sci 63:119–128. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Casarin N, Hasbroucq S, Emond A, López Mercadal J, Tugores MA, Miranda Chueca MA, Bragard C, Grégoire JC (In preparation). Establishment of a Belgian sentinel plantation in Palma de Mallorca to investigate the susceptibility of Belgian potential host plants to the phytopathogenic bacterium Xylella fastidiosa.Google Scholar
  13. Chapman D, Purse BV, Roy HE, Bullock JM (2017) Global trade networks determine the distribution of invasive non-native species. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 26:907–917. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cleary M, Oskay F, Doğmuş HT, Lehtijärvi A, Woodward S, Vettraino AM (2019) Cryptic Risks to forest biosecurity associated with the global movement of commercial seed. Forests 10:459. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Delbianco A, Czwienczek E, Pautasso M, Kozelska S, Monguidi M, Stancanelli G (2018) A new resource for research and risk analysis: the updated European food safety authority database of Xylella spp. host plant species. Phytopathology 109:213–215. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Eschen R, Britton K, Brockerhoff E, Burgess T, Dalley V, Epanchin-Niell R, Gupta K, Hardy G, Huang Y, Kenis M, Kimani E, Li H, Olsen S, Ormrod R, Otieno W, Sadof C, Tadeu E, Theyse M (2015a) International variation in phytosanitary legislation and regulations governing importation of plants for planting. Environ Sci Policy 51:228–237. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eschen R, Roques A, Santini A (2015b) Taxonomic dissimilarity in patterns of interception and establishment of alien arthropods, nematodes and pathogens affecting woody plants in Europe. Divers Distrib 21:36–45. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eschen R, O’Hanlon R, Santini A, Vannini A, Roques A, Kirichenko N, Kenis M (2019) Safeguarding global plant health: the rise of sentinels. J Pest Sci 92:29–36. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fagan LL, Bithel SL, Dick MA (2008) Systems for identifying invasive threats to New Zealand flora by using overseas plantings of New Zealand native plants. In: Fourd KJ, Popay AI, Zydenbos SM (eds) Surveillance for biosecurity: pre-border to pest management. New Zealand Plant Protection Society, Christchurch, pp 51–62Google Scholar
  20. FAO (1997) International plant protection convention. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  21. Franić I, Prosopero S, Hartmann M, Allan E, Auger-Rozenberg M-A, Grünwald N, Eschen R (2019) Are traded forest tree seeds a potential source of nonnative pests? Ecol Appl. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Groenteman R, Forgie SA, Hoddle MS, Ward DF, Goeke DF, Anand N (2015) Assessing invasion threats: novel insect-pathogen-natural enemy associations with native New Zealand plants in southern California. Biol Invasion 17:1299–1305. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hurley BP, Slippers B, Wingfield MJ (2007) A comparison of control results for the alien invasive woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, in the southern hemisphere. Agric Forest Entomol 9:159–171. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ioos R, Aloi F, Piškur B, Guinet C, Mullett M, Berbegal M et al (2019) Transferability of PCR-based diagnostic protocols: an international collaborative case study assessing protocols targeting the quarantine pine pathogen Fusarium circinatum. Sci Rep 9(1):8195. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  25. Jeger M, Bragard C, Chatzivassiliou E, Dehnen-Schmutz K, Gilioli G, Jaques Miret JA, MacLeod A, Navajas Navarro M, Niere B, Parnell S, Potting R, Rafoss T, Urek G, Van Bruggen A, Van der Werf W, West J, Winter S, Maresi G, Prospero S, Vettraino AM, Vloutoglou I, Pautasso M, Rossi V (2016) Scientific opinion on the risk assessment and reduction options for Cryphonectria parasitica in the EU. EFSA J 14:4641. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kenis M, Li H, Fan JT, Courtial B, Auger-Rozenberg M.-A, Yart A, Eschen R, Roques A (2018) Sentinel nurseries to assess the phytosanitary risks from insect pests on importations of live plants. Scientific Reports 8:11217.Google Scholar
  27. Kirichenko N, Kenis M (2016) Using a botanical garden to assess factors influencing the colonization of exotic woody plants by phyllophagous insects. Oecologia. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Liebhold A, Brockerhoff E, Garrett L, Parke J, Britton K (2012) Live plant imports: the major pathway for the forest insect and pathogen invasions of the US. Front Ecol Environ 10:135–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. MacLeod A, Pautasso M, Jeger MJ, Haines-Young R (2010) Evolution of the international regulation of plant pests and challenges for future plant health. Food Secur 2:49–70. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mansfield S, McNeill MR, Aalders LT, Bell NL, Kean JM, Barratt BIP, Boyd-Wilson K, Teulon DAJ (2019) The value of sentinel plants for risk assessment and surveillance to support biosecurity. Neobiota 48:1–24. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Noble R, Roberts SJ (2004) Eradication of plant pathogens and nematodes during composting: a review. Plant Pathol 53:548–568. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rigling D, Prospero S (2018) Cryphonectria parasitica, the causal agent of chestnut blight: invasion history, population biology and disease control. Mol Plant Pathol 19:7–20. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Roques A, Fan J, Courtial B, Zhang YZ, Yart A, Auger-Rozenberg M-A, Denux O, Kenis M, Baker R, Sun J (2015) Planting sentinel European trees in Eastern Asia as a novel method to identify potential insect pest invaders. PLoS ONE 10:e0120864. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. Santini A, Ghelardini L, De Pace C, Desprez-Loustau M-L, Capretti P, Chandelier A, Cech T, Chira D, Diamandis S, Gaitniekis T, Hantula J, Holdenrieder O, Jankovsky L, Jung T, Jurc D, Kirisits T, Kunca A, Lygis V, Malecka M, Marcais Schmitz S, Schumacher J, Solheim H, Solla A, Szabo I, Tsopelas P, Vannini A, Vettraino AM, Webber J, Woodward S, Stenlid J (2013) Biogeographical patterns and determinants of invasion by forest pathogens in Europe. New Phytol 197:238–250. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Santini A, Liebhold A, Migliorini D, Woodward S (2018) Tracing the role of human civilization in the globalization of plant pathogens. ISME J 12:647–652. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. Soubeyrand S, De Jerphanion P, Martin O, Saussac M, Manceau C, Hendrikx P, Lannou C (2018) Inferring pathogen dynamics from temporal count data: the emergence of Xylella fastidiosa in France is probably not recent. New Phytol 219(2):824–836. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. Tomoshevich M, Kirichenko N, Holmes K, Kenis M (2013) Foliar fungal pathogens of European woody plants in Siberia: an early warning of potential threats? Forest Pathol 43:345–359. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Vettraino AM, Roques A, Yart A, Fan J, Sun J, Vannini A (2015) Sentinel trees as a tool to forecast invasions of alien plant pathogens. PloS ONE 10:e0120571. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. Vettraino AM, Li H-M, Eschen R, Morales-Rodriguez C, Vannini A (2017) The sentinel tree nursery as an early warning system for pathway risk assessment: fungal pathogens associated with Chinese woody plants commonly shipped to Europe. PLoS ONE 12:e0188800. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  40. Vettraino AM, Potting R, Raposo R (2018) EU legislation on forest plant health: an overview with a focus on Fusarium circinatum. Forests 9:568. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. WTO (1995) Agreement on the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures. World Trade Organization, RomeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Maria Vettraino
    • 1
  • Alberto Santini
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christo Nikolov
    • 3
  • Jean-Claude Grégoire
    • 4
  • Rumen Tomov
    • 5
  • Andrei Orlinski
    • 6
  • Tiit Maaten
    • 7
  • Halldór Sverrisson
    • 8
  • Bjørn Økland
    • 9
  • René Eschen
    • 10
  1. 1.DIBAF University of TusciaViterboItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Plant Protection, C.N.RSesto FiorentinoItaly
  3. 3.National Forest Centre, Forest Research InstituteZvolenSlovakia
  4. 4.Spatial Epidemiology Lab (SpELL)Université libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.University of ForestrySofiaBulgaria
  6. 6.EPPO/OEPPParisFrance
  7. 7.Institute of Forestry and Rural EngineeringEstonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia
  8. 8.Icelandic Forest ServiceIcelandic Forest Research, MógilsáReykjavíkIceland
  9. 9.Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy ResearchÅsNorway
  10. 10.CABIDelemontSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations