While I understand the good intentions of Dr. Ya.Kuzevanov, I THINK THAT THIS
IS A BAD IDEA. In the United States, our most important insect, disease and
weed pests have been imported from foreign countries. Chestnut blight, Dutch
Elm Disease, Japanese Beetle, European Corn Borer, Potato Late Blight and
Gypsy Moth have been brought to this country unintentionally (or intentionally)
and have caused significant crop loss and have resulted in millions of pounds
of PESTICIDE used to control them.
This year, a new strain of fusarium was imported on basil SEED from Italy. It
has since established itself in the soil, requiring more PESTICIDE use to
control it as well as the loss of the basil crop for farmers in Massachsuetts,
Florida, California and Colorado (where, up to now this strain has been identi-
In this country, we have the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
(APHIS) to inspect imported seed. This system ain't perfect (see above), but
it does catch an awful lot of stuff that should not be entering the country.
It does our agriculture NO GOOD when people smuggle the "interesting" plant
variety when they visit abroad. The system completely fall apart when plant
parts are mailed, as APHIS has no inspection system for the mails.
I have some respect for our inspection system, and serve APHIS as a pest
survey coordinator in Massachusetts (recently we have been concerned with
new bark beetles and the hemlock woolly adelgid - an import that is
spreading through the Northeastern States, killing hemlock trees). If I
respect our work to keep pests out, I should also respect the needs of other
countries to keep our AMERICAN (and now, our "naturallized") pests out of
I am particularly wary of the term "seed exchange". Now that we have
electronic communications, we have the ability to accelerate the rate
of pest movement throughout the world. As many people have discussed the
misuse of modern technology, especially in the context of bioenginerring
and pesticides, shouldn't we also be concerned that this amazing
electronic communication can be misused by encouraging the movement of pests?
-- CRAIG HOLLINGSWORTH INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST DEPARTMENT OF ENTOMOLOGY BOX 30210 PHONE: (413)545-1055 UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS FAX: (413)545-5858 AMHERST MA 01003-0210 Email: email@example.com