The effect of forest management options on forest resilience to pathogens

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  • Michaela Roberts
    James Hutton Institute
  • Chris Gilligan
    Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EA, UK.
  • Adam Kleczkowski
    University of Strathclyde
  • Nicholas Hanley
    University of Glasgow
  • Elizabeth Whalley
    Warwick Business School, University of Warwick
  • John Healey
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.
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Nifer y tudalennau45
CyfnodolynFrontiers in Forests and Global Change
StatwsCyhoeddwyd - 10 Chwef 2020
Gweld graff cysylltiadau