National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Program

Safeguarding our forests

Overseas pests, global travel and trade have led to new pest establishments threatening Australia’s forests.


  • losing our iconic gum trees or wattles
  • our city streets and parks with sick and dying trees
  • having to import our timber unsustainably from overseas.

A National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Program can help to reduce the environmental, social and economic risks of exotic pests to forests.

Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper funding has enabled forest stakeholders to identify forest biosecurity surveillance capacity and capability gaps and develop plans for improvement.

Native forests Urban plantings Plantations

Establishing a forest surveillance program

Currently, a funding partnership between the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Australian Forest Products Association is being used to establish a National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Program.

Sustainable funding

~$2M/year partnership:

  • Australian Government
  • states and territories
  • forest and timber sector

Stakeholder governance

A National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Group (NFBSG) made up of major stakeholders: governments, industry, community and environment groups

Independent management

Managed by Plant Health Australia through the National Forest Biosecurity Coordinator

Pathway risk analyses

Australian Government and state data used to model and identify points of highest risk for entry or establishment of exotic pests

Surveillance at high-risk sites

Maximises early detection and eradication of exotic pests at high-risk sites for entry or establishment such as ports, airports, import facilities, botanic gardens and tourist attractions

Forest and tree health monitoring and surveillance

Assists with the management of established pests, the early detection of exotic pests and proof of area freedom from pests

Diagnostic support

Surveillance samples identified by Australian Government and state diagnostics laboratories

Training, data, tools

Needs identified by stakeholders, and addressed and coordinated through Plant Health Australia (eg AUSPestCheck)

What can we gain by implementing this program?

  • Reduced risk of exotic pest entry and establishment
  • Improved chances of early detection and eradication
  • Enhanced national forest pest surveillance capacity and capability
  • Nationally coordinated information and training available
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem resilience maintained
  • Maintained or increased amenity and economic values across stakeholders
  • Reduced economic risks to Australia’s $22B/year forest sector and 70,000 employees
  • Increased sharing of responsibility for biosecurity across all stakeholders
  • Ongoing savings through avoidance of new pest management costs
  • Reduced costs for surveillance and R&D activities for each stakeholder through a partnership approach.

Related documents

Framework for National Biosecurity Surveillance for Exotic Forest Pests

National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy

National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy Implementation Plan


National Forest Biosecurity Coordinator, Francisco (Paco) Tovar [email protected]