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Tree Health: Review and Analysis of Control Strategies for Established Pests and Pathogens of Trees to Inform Current and Future Management - TH0106

Description
Trees, like other plants, often suffer from attack by insect pests and diseases which cause damage resulting in a range of impacts on tree health. However, particularly over the past fifty years many of the biotic causal agents of tree disorders (generically known as pests) have emerged as extremely harmful, both to trees in the natural and semi-natural environment as well as in managed settings. They include examples where human intervention has exacerbated the impact of certain pests and pathogens, but more recently include alien pests and pathogens which have become of increasing consequence. Whatever the cause, once such organisms are established and become widespread the subsequent damage to tree populations can be both long term and open-ended, making it challenging to identify and deploy control strategies that are both successful and cost-effective when applied to long-lived woody perennial species in the form of trees.

With many different combinations of pests and tree species found in Great Britain, a wide range of methods are available to combat them although typically the approach is to tailor the response to each individual organism. The most successful strategies often integrate chemical, silvicultural changes and epidemiological knowledge of the pest organism and this approach has undoubtedly led to effective control programmes for some. However, for whatever reason, many control strategies applied to tree pests are not sustainable over time or fail to prevent disease epidemics or pest populations from spiraling out of control, suggesting that tree pests are difficult to manage successfully although little systematic evaluation has been undertaken to substantiate this view. The aim of this research project is therefore to analyse management strategies and so identify common factors in the successful control of established pests and diseases of trees, as well as drawing lessons from examples where control is limited or fails.

This will be achieved through a series of integrated studies within the project which will:

• Baseline the project with a state-of-the-art review and analysis of the literature to identify relevant previous reviews, studies and information which focus on experience in Britain of pest and pathogen control as well as drawing on examples from elsewhere in the world. A document summarising this analysis will be delivered within two months of the project start.

• Build on the initial findings and define a series of case studies selected to reflect an appropriate range of pest and pathogen types, hosts and environments, then use these case studies to establish the lessons or principles which are common to successful pest and pathogen control strategies.

• Translate these principles into recommendations that can be applied to current and future management strategies, based on the improved understanding of the factors identified as strongly influencing the success or failure of management of established pests and pathogens.

These interlinked studies are focused on improving current and future control strategies of pests and pathogens in Great Britain as well as underpinning the preparation of generic control plans for causal agents of tree disorders. The work will make a significant contribution to the aims of the recently launched Defra-FC Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action plan (see http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13657-tree-health-actionplan.pdf), with clear relevance to the major theme of developing practical actions.
Objective
General objective of the project
The overarching aim of the project is to identify common factors in successful (and unsuccessful) control of established pests and diseases of trees to inform current and future management strategies and preparation of generic control plans for related groups of pests and pathogens.
The work will make a significant contribution to aims of the the recently launched Defra-FC Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action plan (see http://www.defra.gov.uk/publications/files/pb13657-tree-health-actionplan.pdf), and directly underpins one of major themes described in the plan to develop practical actions.

Specific objectives within the project
1. Undertake a review of both published and grey literature detailing relevant examples of pest and pathogen control strategies, reflecting experience in Great Britain as well as examples from elsewhere in the world, to provide a baseline of relevant information.
2. Agree a series of case studies for detailed analysis selected to reflect an appropriate range of pest management success, pest and pathogen types, hosts and environments relevant to Great Britain.
3. Identify and quantify lessons or principles which are common to successful pest and pathogen control strategies based on the case studies, and so propose why some strategies prove effective and others apparently fail or are only partially successful.
4. Devise a Pest Management Scheme, based on factors identified as strongly influencing the success or failure in management of established pests and pathogens, to inform current and future control strategies.

Objective 1: lead taken by ADAS (contractor 2) with input from FR on the literature review, combining specialist knowledge from ADAS on amenity/landscape and parkland pests, and specialist knowledge from FR on forest/woodland pests.
Objective 2: lead taken by FR (contractor 1) with input from ADAS to define the series of case studies and present these in a form that can be used for workshop evaluation and finalise the agreed scope and approach for the project in a short outline document.
Objective 3: lead taken by ADAS (contractor 2) with input by FR to first establish the framework for comparing the case studies, with ADAS to undertake a detailed analysis of the amenity/landscape pests and FR for the forest/woodland pests, but then each to review the others outputs critically before drawing joint conclusions.
Objective 4: lead taken by FR (contractor 1), but both partners to jointly bring together and refine recommendations on factors that underpin successful control strategies and produce the public-facing document that distills this information into an accessible format for woodland/tree owners and managers.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2013

Cost: £118,799
Contractor / Funded Organisations
A D A S UK Ltd (ADAS), Forest Research Agency
Keywords
Forestry              
Plant Pests and Diseases