The effect of forest management options on forest resilience to pathogens
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Invasive pathogens threaten the ability of forests globally to produce a range of valuable ecosystem services over time. However, the ability to detect such pathogen invasions—and thus to produce appropriate and timely management responses—is relatively low. We argue that a promising approach is to plan and manage forests in a way that increases their resilience to invasive pathogens not yet present or ubiquitous in the forest. This paper is based on a systematic search and critical review of empirical evidence of the effect of a wide range of forest management options on the primary and secondary infection rates of forest pathogens, and on subsequent forest recovery. Our goals are to inform forest management decision making to increase forest resilience, and to identify the most important evidence gaps for future research. The management options for which there is the strongest evidence that they increase forest resilience to pathogens are: reduced forest connectivity, removal or treatment of inoculum sources such as cut stumps, reduced tree density, removal of diseased trees and increased tree species diversity. In all cases the effect of these options on infection dynamics differs greatly amongst tree and pathogen species and between forest environments. However, the lack of consistent effects of silvicultural systems or of thinning, pruning or coppicing treatments is notable. There is also a lack of evidence of how the effects of treatments are influenced by the scale at which they are applied, e.g., the mixture of tree species. An overall conclusion is that forest managers often need to trade-off increased resilience to tree pathogens against other benefits obtained from forests.
Roberts , M , Gilligan , C A , Kleczkowski , A , Hanley , N , Whalley , A E & Healey , J R 2020 , ' The effect of forest management options on forest resilience to pathogens ' , Frontiers in Forests and Global Change , vol. 3 , 7 . https://doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2020.00007
Frontiers in Forests and Global Change
Copyright © 2020 Roberts, Gilligan, Kleczkowski, Hanley, Whalley and Healey. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
DescriptionThis work is from the project titled Modeling economic impact and strategies to increase resilience against tree disease outbreaks. This is one of seven projects in the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative (phase 2) funded by BBSRC, Defra, ESRC, Forestry Commission, NERC, and Scottish Government. The Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services Division of the Scottish Government provided supporting capacity to MR for final editing of the paper.
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