Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

Information on Risk Assessments

Recommendations are based on the following scores:

Less than 1, accept the plant for import (Australia) or species likely to be of low risk (Pacific and Florida (U.S.)).
Greater than 6, reject the plant for import (Australia) or species likely to be of high risk (Pacific and Florida (U.S.)).
From 1 to 6, the plant requires further evaluation.

Some of the Australian risk assessments may show "reject" with an indicated score of 6.  However, the score may actually be more than 6 but less than 7, or the environmental or agricultural scores may be greater than 6, leading to this recommendation.  Pacific and Florida (U.S.) risk assessments with scores between 1 and 6 are subject to a second screen to determine a recommendation.

What do the risk assessment scores mean and how should they be interpreted?

The AQIS Import Risk Analysis Process and the Hawai‘i and Florida (U.S.) Weed Risk Assessment Protocols are based on information on the biology of the species obtained from scientific literature and other documented sources. They predict likely invasiveness of the species in Australia, in Hawaii and the high islands of the Pacific, and in the State of Florida (U.S.). They are NOT a field evaluation of the current distribution and current impact of the species in Australia, Hawai‘i and the Pacific islands, or Florida and the continental U.S.

A rating of "accept" or "low risk" indicates that the plant has a low probability of becoming a serious pest. A rating of "reject" or "high risk" indicates that the species poses a high risk of becoming a serious pest. A rating of "evaluate" indicates an inconclusive result or lack of information that would warrant continued observation and evaluation.

Risk assessments are predictive tools that are based on the best information available at the time.  While they usually give a good indication as to whether or not a species is likely to be invasive, they cannot predict the behavior of a species under all circumstances.  In particular, caution should be exercised in introducing any species that naturalize or are known to be invasive elsewhere. 

The Hawaii Weed Risk Assessment Protocol is meant to be a proactive tool for reducing invasive plant problems in Hawaii and on other Pacific Islands.

Risk Assessments for Hawaii and the Pacific Islands:

Background information on the risk assessment process
Weed Risk Assessment FAQ

Searchable database of screened species (original assessments)

The Australian Risk Analysis Process:

AQIS Import Risk Analysis Handbook (PDF File)

Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER!

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This page updated 29 December 2008