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D-00-08: Requirements to Prevent the Introduction of undescribed species of Phytophthora pathogenic to Alder (Alnus spp.)

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Effective Date: April 10, 2013
(2nd Revision)


This directive states that alder (Alnus spp.) is prohibited entry to Canada from affected parts of Europe to prevent the importation of the newly reported Phytophthora species affecting alders.

This directive has been revised to update the review date, as well as minor administrative changes. The content of this directive has not changed.

Table of Contents


This directive will be updated as required. For further information or clarification, please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).


Approved by:

Chief Plant Health Officer

Amendment Record

Amendments to this directive will be dated and distributed as outlined in the distribution below.


  1. Directive mail list (Regions, PHRA, USDA)
  2. Provincial Government, Industry (via Regions)
  3. National Industry Organizations (determined by Author)
  4. Internet


An aggressive new fungal disease caused by a hybrid Phytophtora species is killing hundreds of thousands of alder trees along Europe's rivers. The alder disease, first found in Britain in 1993, destroys the bark around the base of the trees, eventually killing them. So far the disease has killed around 10 percent of the alders in southern England and Wales, and is steadily killing up to 2 percent of the population each year. The blight has also been serious in parts of Sweden, France and Holland, and is spreading in Germany and Austria.

Research in Europe suggests the fungus disease is caused by two introduced Phytophtora species (P. cambivora and another fungus close but not identical to P. fragariae) that have hybridized to form a "new", aggressive disease-causing organism. The two species of fungi were possibly introduced on imported plants.

Phytophtora root disease of alder is caused by a new species of fungus or a hybrid of two or more existing species of fungus that poses a serious threat to common alders causing abnormally small and discoloured leaves, dead roots, collar knot, other symptoms and plant death. This fungus is soil-borne and may be spread by water and soil as well as by movement of infected material by humans. Phytophtora species do not occur on alders in North America.

The new Phytophtora species is a high risk pathogen that represents a high damage potential to the forest economy in British Columbia (BC) and to forest ecosystems across Canada. Red alder (Alnus rubra) is economically important to the province of BC and to the Pacific Northwest of the United States (US). Red alder wood is used in a specialty industry in the manufacture of fine furniture, specialized veneers, plywood, pallets and paper. It is the third most important hardwood export in the US after red and white oak, and in BC the production of a high quality red alder log is approximately equal in value to that of a Douglas fir log.

Alnus spp. are widespread in Canada and are of considerable ecological importance as early colonizers of damaged and wet sites and as nitrogen-fixers. Alders contribute to soil quality and erosion control and provide wildlife food and habitat.

In light of these facts, importation of Alnus spp. is prohibited from infested European countries in order to prevent the introduction and spread of Phytophtora root disease in Canada/North America.


This directive is for the use of wood importers, nursery growers and other importers of plant material and for CFIA inspectors. This is to outline the prohibition of Alnus material from infested countries and to provide staff with direction on inspection procedures.

This directive supersedes D-00-08 (1st Revision).

1.0 General Requirements

1.1 Legislative Authority

1.2 Fees

The CFIA is charging fees in accordance with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fees Notice. For information regarding fees associated with imported product, please contact the National Import Service Centres (NISC). Anyone requiring other information regarding fees may contact any local CFIA office or visit our Fees Notice website.

1.3 Regulated Pests

Phytophthora species, including new hybrids, that are pathogenic to alder.

1.4 Regulated Commodities

Alder (Alnus spp.), rooted plant material including nursery stock; wood with bark.

Note: Wood without bark is subject to the requirements under D-02-12.

1.5 Commodities Exempt

Manufactured alder material, seed, non-rooted cuttings.

1.6 Regulated Areas

Please see Appendix 1.

2.0 Specific Requirements

2.1 Prohibitions

The importation of Alnus spp. rooted plant material and wood with bark from regulated areas.

Note: Rooted plant material originating from non-regulated countries require approval prior to importation. A pest risk assessment may be required to evaluate the risk posed by other pests.

2.2 Inspection Requirements

All importations of regulated alder (Alnus spp.) material will be immediately refused entry and destroyed or returned to origin at the importer's expense. Alder seed and non-rooted cuttings must be free from soil, plant debris and quarantine pests. Please see note of Section 2.1.

3.0 Appendix

Appendix 1: Areas Regulated for Phytophtora Pathogenic to Alder (Alnus spp.)

Appendix 1

Areas Regulated for Phytophtora Pathogenic to Alder (Alnus spp.)

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