Treeport’s annual Alliance Partner Day was held at Treeport member Boomkwekerij Ron van Opstal. It was deliberately chosen to combine this day with a national gathering regarding Q-organisms.
As a result, more than 50 representatives (official and administrative) of the Dutch tree nursery municipalities, the Belgian border municipalities, the trade unions, knowledge institutions, and Alliance partners came together to continue the national crisis exercise that was held in Opheusden in 2022. By introducing border municipalities and alliance partners, it was presented to a wider audience than at previous meetings. Björn Kohlmann outlined the program and the route.
The meeting was opened by Treeport president John Oostvogels and alderman Ralph Bogers of the host municipality of Zundert. Chairman of the day David Bömer, manager of Treeport, indicated the goal of the day: raise awareness, see the impact, and hear about it, but above all, urge people to take action.
Marieke van Lent of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority gave an extensive presentation on the scenarios around Q-organisms that can survive in the Netherlands. The Q-organisms that the tree cultivation sector is currently focusing on are (East)Asian longhorn beetle, emerald ash borer, the Japanese beetle, and Xylella. The NVWA is also developing scenarios for this. The measures under the EU Regulation are the eradication or control of insects and bacteria. This regularly means that if found, all host plants must be destroyed. In these cases, the measures are, therefore, even more, severe than the damage caused by the insect.
Marieke indicated that the script for Xylella is almost ready. A complex matter in which it seems impossible to beat the bacteria, but beating the vectors that Xylella can transfer is a possibility. After an outbreak, a buffer zone of at least 5 km is established around the contamination. At that time, the supply or export of host plants is not possible (for Xylella, about 400 species). The emergency measures apply not only to producing companies but also to all companies at home and abroad to which these (contaminated) host plants have been delivered, and also to citizens, public green spaces, and nature. The precision measures, which are very dependent on the circumstances, can only be lifted after 4 years, and in some cases, an area can also be closed off for 5 years. This delay can have various causes, such as weather conditions, period, resistance, and opposition. A new report was that if something is found in October, there will be a degree of uncertainty until June. Research is only possible from June to September because vectors are only present then. Rapid delivery of tracking information is, therefore, crucial. The main message of the morning program was: remove the Crisis Communication Handbook from the shelf and make sure it is up to date.
After the presentation, a tour of the company and four impact analyses were made. Host plants for the (East)Asian longhorn beetle, the Japanese beetle, and Xylella were provided with the color codes blue, red, and yellow in both the nurseries and the surrounding private gardens. A sea of colors that made a big impression on all who were in attendance. The alliance partners municipality of Zundert (Wouter Arends), trade fair GrootGroenPlus (Frans van Wanrooij), water board Brabantse Delta (René Rijken), and Bloemencorso Zundert (Ad de Bruijn) had done their homework and found out what the impact of an outbreak of Xylella or the Japanese beetle would be on their activities. It brought the theory we previously heard to life. The impact analyses did their job, and the enormous importance of prevention, research, inspection, sampling, tracking, and communication were immediately clear. The main conclusion of the day was: it is drastic, and we have to deal with this seriously.