Regulatory Pest Informatics


Safeguard U.S. agriculture and natural resources and facilitate international trade by developing information systems to stop exotic invasive pests at US borders


Be a world leader in regulatory pest informatics


In 2000, Pimental et al. (2000) estimated that the annual agricultural losses due to exotic arthropods and plant pathogens were about $35.6 billion; with inflation (Bureau of Labor Statistics), these losses amount to more than $50 billion in today’s U.S. dollars. A major pathway for the introduction of these invasive pests that impact U.S. agriculture and natural resources is through international trade. CIPM provides support to APHISPPQ, one of the two agencies in the U.S. that develops and implements plant biosecurity strategies via research and analyses in regulatory pest informatics. This CIPM Frontier includes knowledge assimilation and analyses of pest biology, geographical distribution, host range, epidemiology and ecology; development of surveillance methods, identification and diagnosis; and modeling for pest prioritization, introduction, spread, establishment and economic impact. The overall goal of the research carried out in this frontier is to stop pests before they reach or establish within our borders.

CIPM has numerous cooperative agreements with USDA–APHIS–PPQ that focus on reducing invasive pests and facilitating agricultural trade. For example, Not Approved Pending Pest Risk Analysis (NAPPRA) allows the federal agency to restrict plant trade until detailed pest risk analyses have been conducted. Another project, the Objective Prioritization of Exotic Pests (OPEP), categorizes exotic pests based on their likelihood to enter and establish and their potential to impact the U.S. agriculture and natural resources; this allows stakeholders to judiciously allocate limited resources for detection and response activities. CIPM also provides leadership in preparing New Pest Response Guideline (NPRG) documents to assist APHIS in rapidly responding to the new detections of high-consequence exotic pests. Other key success stories include facilitating U.S. exports of specialty crops through a Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC) grant from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), hosting and running a global service for monitoring exotic pest reports (PestLens), and the development of generic and specific spatiotemporal frameworks to understand pathways and forecast risk of exotic pests in the U.S. These frameworks enable rapid detection of new incursions and reduce the potential impact of future invasions.

Future Plans

Center aims to continue work in close cooperation with APHIS Center for Plant Health Science and Technology (CPHST) to regulate the introduction of invasive species in the United States. In addition to CPHST, CIPM will identify and develop partnerships with other core functional areas of PPQ, such as Field Operations and Policy Management. Furthermore, CIPM will identify new stakeholders outside PPQ, such as state departments, working groups, non-profit organizations and grower associations, that contribute to regulating invasive exotic species. CIPM proposes to develop a curriculum in Agricultural Regulatory Affairs to train more professionals in regulatory informatics.


Pimental et al. (2000) Environmental and Economic Costs of Nonindigenous Species in the United States. BioSci. 50:53-65.