Pest risk assessment of Atropellis spp. for the EU territory
Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Plant Health (PLH) Panel performed a risk assessment for Atropellis spp. in the EU focusing on the risk of entry, the host range and the potential impacts. Atropellis is a fungal pathogen of several Pinus spp. in North America. The pathogen has not been reported from Europe and is a quarantine pest regulated in Annex IIAI of Council Directive 2000/29/EC on plants (other than fruit and seeds), isolated bark and wood of Pinus. The main pathways of entry considered were Pinus plants, wood and isolated bark. Given the ban of importing Pinus plants from outside Europe into the EU and the lack of information on EU imports of isolated Pinus bark, only the wood pathway was assessed quantitatively. The conclusion of the assessment of entry for scenario A0 (current regulatory situation) is that the risk of entry of Atropellis spp. is close to zero. This conclusion is expected to apply also in the case of removing the specific Atropellis regulations, because of the remaining generic Pinus requirements, as well as in a scenario with additional risk reduction options. The uncertainty associated with this assessment is relatively limited, given that all the quartiles of the estimated distribution of the number of potential founder populations are close to zero. For the North American Pinus spp. known to be susceptible and widely planted in the EU (mainly P. contorta and P. strobus), the damage observed in North America (loss of wood quality, stem deformations, mortality in young stands, environmental consequences) is expected in the EU to a similar (or higher) degree, should the pathogen be introduced. Similar impacts are expected on the European Pinus spp. known to be host of Atropellis spp. These include widespread and locally abundant species such as P. nigra, P. sylvestris and P. pinaster. There are, however, large uncertainties associated with this impact assessment due to the unknown susceptibility of several other Pinus spp. present in Europe. There is a need for research on the susceptibility to Atropellis spp. of those European Pinus spp.