Introduced non-native species, such as corn, wheat, rice, other plant crops, breeds of cattle poultry and other livestock provide much of our food system valued at more than $800 billion annually. Other exotic species have been introduced for landscape restoration, biological pest control, sport, pets, and food processing. There are, however, some non-indigenous species which have caused major environmental damages and losses, adding up to many tens of billions of dollars each year. Recent estimates put the figure at more than 50,000 foreign species which have been introduced into the United States. From 1906 to 1991 approximately $97 billion in damages were reported from 79 exotic species.
In North Carolina exotic species such as kudzu, Japanese bamboo, red imported fire ant, Dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, codling moth, Japanese beetle, weeds and diseases and insect pests in our lawns, gardens, and golf courses are just a few exotics causing monetary losses by their feeding and by providing a vector for disease transmission.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine’s (USDA, APHIS, PPQ) Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) is a cooperative program administered jointly by federal and state agricultural organizations. The primary mission of the program is to conduct surveillance, detection, and monitoring of agricultural crop pests and biocontrol agents. At this time, survey targets include insects, plant diseases, weeds, nematodes and other invertebrate organisms.
CAPS programs target exotic pests and pests that are not known to occur in the U.S. along with regionally established pests of export significance. Based on core funding provided by USDA, APHIS, PPQ, each state conducts the surveys that are needed and ensures that scientifically valid, current and reliable pest survey data is available for North Carolina on a routine basis.
The CAPS survey data is collected in North Carolina and the remaining states and U.S. territories and is entered into the National Agricultural Pest Information System (NAPIS) database. The NAPIS database is maintained through a cooperative agreement between USDA, APHIS, PPQ and Purdue University, Center for Environmental and Regulatory Information Systems (CERIS). North Carolina’s data is accessible by directly contacting the North Carolina CAPS Survey Coordinator (Dr. Ken Ahlstrom, Agricultural Research Specialist at Ken.Ahlstrom@ncagr.gov or (919) 707-3741 or at the NAPIS website www.ceris.purdue.edu/napis/index.html.