Resilience of forests to pathogens: An evolutionary ecology perspective

Richard A. Ennos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Both natural and managed forests are currently suffering from increases in damage by pathogens. Here, an evolutionary ecology approach is adopted to analyse the factors that influence the levels of pathogen damage experienced by forest tree populations and consider the conditions under which stable co-existence of trees and pathogens occurs in natural populations. The demographic and genetic responses of tree-pathogen systems to anthropogenic perturbations are explored to identify where the greatest threats to resilience lie. Problems caused by native pathogens are likely to arise as a consequence both of rapid climate change and of forest management practices that lead to increases in species density, drastic reductions in genetic diversity and planting outside the native range. The most serious threats to forest trees are posed by introduction of exotic pathogens derived from related exotic tree species. Recovery following spread of exotic pathogens is likely to be both slow and uncertain and may not be possible without intensive programmes involving rapid selection and widespread dissemination of genotypes resistant to the exotic pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Early online date2 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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