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Inhalt: Plant health in national and global trade

The term "plant health" covers all measures and regulations aimed at preventing hitherto non-native pests that damage plants or plant products from entering the EU. Without natural antagonists, these pests can cause enormous damage to agriculture and forestry and also affect biodiversity and fragile ecosystems. Global trade is a driving factor for the emergence of new pests. In addition, climate change is causing thermophilic species to migrate into previously colder regions.

Due to the close trade relations within the EU, the legal requirements for plant health are uniformly regulated for the member states. International standards provide the framework for phytosanitary measures. These standards, such as the requirements for the treatment of wood packaging, are applied worldwide.

More on the topic

JKI knowledge portal

Pest risk assessment

Our scientists estimate the level of risk posed by fungi, insects, viruses and other harmful organisms that are likely or expected to be introduced into Germany or Europe. This is done in accordance with internationally recognized guidelines. They analyze the life cycle and habitat needs of the harmful organism. The following questions, among others, help to estimate the actual risks:

  • Can the pest survive in our climate?
  • Does it find its host plants here?
  • Is its „commodity“ (e.g. certain fruits or wood packaging) traded on a significant scale?

Based on this risk assessment, measures are being developed to prevent new harmful organisms from being introduced and spreading in Germany and the EU. This also includes efforts for the eradication of a pest when infestation has occurred.

Coordination of phytosanitary measures in Germany

The JKI is the competent national authority for the exchange of information between the EU Commission, the EU member states and the plant protection services of the German federal states and, if necessary, other authorities involved.

Already known and regulated quarantine pests are regularly monitored by the plant protection services of the federal states. The JKI provides the guidelines for the necessary surveys (monitoring) by the federal states.

If the Plant Protection Service becomes aware of a previously unknown pest, the JKI, as the competent National Reference Laboratory, evaluates the evidence. If the assumption is confirmed, we carry out a risk assessment with regard to the potential threat posed by the introduction of the pest into the EU.  We then decide upon suitable countermeasures; for example, how to proceed in the event of an infestation with the new pest.

Report an invasive species sighting

If a plant commodity is suspected to be infested with a newly introduced pest, the plant protection service of the respective federal state must be informed. This applies both to pests that are known but not yet present in the EU or present but not widely distributed (so-called quarantine organisms) and to pests that have been introduced to Germany or the EU for the first time. Contact persons and further information on the topic can be found on the JKI knowledge portal "Plant Health".

Every citizen is obliged to make these notifications. This applies in particular to persons who professionally or commercially deal with plants and plant products or packaging material made of wood. This includes plant breeders, nurseries, tree nurseries, but also scientific institutions, official and private consultants or testing laboratories.

Providing the scientific basis for phytosanitary measures in the EU and internationally

Uniform standards, preferably valid worldwide, are necessary to solve plant health problems. As a coordination and contact point for plant health, the JKI represents the Federal Republic of Germany in international bodies, such as

In doing so, our research generates the necessary knowledge for the development of binding EU plant health regulations. These regulations have a direct impact on border and internal controls in Germany and the EU for the import, export or intra-European trade of plants and plant products. Producers and traders are obliged to comply with the regulations.

Plant Health - rules for passengers

Information video by the European Commission

Buying plants on the internet

Why the phytosanitary certificate is so important.