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Forest Research defends biosecurity decision

Forest Research defends biosecurity decision

Forest Research scientists believe that biosecurity systems are working well with respect to pitch canker.

The Rotorua-based CRI recently diagnosed pitch canker on imported Douglas fir cuttings for the first time in New Zealand.

Forest Research scientists, Dr Tod Ramsfield and Kiryn Dobbie, refined a new molecular diagnostic technique specifically for pitch canker with funding provided by MAF.

“The success of this new diagnostic technique can give us some reassurance that our biosecurity system is effective,” says Forest Biosecurity and Protection Leader, Dr Brian Richardson. Endorsing MAF’s decision to ban all imports of Douglas fir cuttings, Richardson believes it would be dangerous to import pines or Douglas-fir until they can confidently designate disease-free areas in the USA.

“Pitch canker is a disease that we have been concerned about for many years and we have always suspected Douglas fir could be a symptomless carrier.”

Dr Richardson says the new measures ensure that New Zealand maintains a robust biosecurity system with respect to pitch canker.

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