Invasive plant pests have caused major losses to agriculture and natural resources, and they pose an increasing threat as the world becomes more interconnected with trade and travel. Emerald ash borer, European gypsy moth, and Japanese beetle are a few examples of invasive pests that have been introduced into the United States, where they have wreaked ecological havoc and required expensive eradication and management programs.
To deal with the growing threat of invasive plant pest introductions, many countries have enacted trade regulations such as inspecting commodities at international ports or limiting trade of high-risk plants. Targeting inspections to where they are most needed can help countries spend limited resources for plant protection and quarantine more efficiently. The big question is: How can we predict where that might be?