Tools for visualizing and integrating pest risk assessment ratings and uncertainties


  • This paper is an outcome of PRATIQUE (Enhancements of Pest Risk Analysis Techniques), a research project funded by the European Union under its 7th Framework Programme.


The application of pest risk analysis (PRA) decision-support schemes, such as that used by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), generates many ratings for likelihood or magnitude of risk factors, each with an associated uncertainty. In accordance with the international standard ISPM 11 (FAO, 2004), questions have been devised to assess the key elements of pest risk in the four main sections of pest risk assessment: Entry, Establishment, Spread and Impact. After completing each section, risk assessors are required to give a summary rating and an uncertainty score for that section. The large number of question ratings and uncertainty scores make the task of summarizing each section and its uncertainty quite difficult. Two graphical tools have been developed to aid this task: the PRA Risk score and uncertainty visualizer (Visualizer) and the Rule-based matrix model (RBMM). The Visualizer presents a case summary graph on a single page in such a way that the risk assessors and peer reviewers can see rating scores and uncertainties in a pictorial manner; the RBMM integrates all the individual questions in the assessment through a hierarchy of rules that attempt to mimic the logic used by the assessors and are arranged in the form of a flow chart to give an overall rating with an accompanying expression of uncertainty.