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New mobile app to record tree pests

A new mobile app, MyPestGuide® Trees, is available to industry, government, and citizen scientists, empowering all to easily identify and report invasive pests and diseases that could threaten our native, plantation and urban forests.

While many potentially damaging pests and diseases exist overseas, Australia has robust biosecurity measures in place to mitigate these risks. Even so, exotic pests and diseases can and do occasionally reach our shores and can damage our environment, including Australia’s trees and forests.

Australia’s trees and forests provide a diverse array of economic, cultural, environmental, and amenity benefits. The forest, wood and paper products sector is Australia’s sixth largest manufacturing industry. Forestry contributes $9.2 billion to the Australian economy.

The MyPestGuide® Trees mobile phone app is designed to promote, encourage, and make it easy for everyone to get involved in identifying and reporting pests sightings in trees in your backyard, street, parks or local bushland.

The app allows users to filter exotic environmental and plant pests using various criteria to identify causal organisms and, if required, submit images of pests to their state or territory agriculture department for identification. The use of the app will assist in the early detection of new and exotic pests, potentially allowing for timely eradication of new and potentially damaging incursions.

“The MyPestGuide Trees app is a pest identification field guide containing information on established and exotic forest pests, as well as a pest reporting tool,” said Paco Tovar, Forest Biosecurity Manager at the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA).

“By using the MyPestGuide® Trees app, members of the public are helping Australia to gather data to build a comprehensive understanding of the forest pests in Australia and help support early detection of exotic forest pests,” said Dr Lucy Tran-Nguyen, PHA’s General Manager, Partnerships and Innovation.

Everyone has a role to play in protecting Australia against harmful pests and diseases, so if you spot anything unusual on a tree or observe something you are unsure about, use the application which is available for free download via the Apple App Store® or Google Play™ as well as a web-based version or call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

The MyPestGuide® TREES mobile application was developed through funding from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s Environmental Biosecurity Office and Forest Wood Products Australia. Plant Health Australia also gratefully acknowledges the expertise provided by Australian Forest Products Association, agriculture departments from different states and territories, forest sector organisations, and university experts.