The disease triangle is a basic and highly flexible tool used extensively in forest pathology. By linking host, pathogen, and environmental factors, the model provides etiological insights into disease emergence. Landscape ecology, as a field, focuses on spatially heterogeneous environments and is most often employed to understand the dynamics of relatively large areas such as those including multiple ecosystems (a landscape) or regions (multiple landscapes). Landscape ecology is increasingly focused on the role of co-occurring, overlapping, or interacting disturbances in shaping spatial heterogeneity as well as understanding how disturbance interactions mediate ecological impacts. Forest diseases can result in severe landscape-level mortality which could influence a range of other landscape-level disturbances including fire, wind impacts, and land use among others. However, apart from a few important exceptions, these disturbance-disease interactions are not well studied. We unite aspects of forest pathology with landscape ecology by applying the disease-triangle approach from the perspective of a spatially heterogeneous environment. At the landscape-scale, disturbances such as fire, insect outbreak, wind, and other events can be components of the environmental ‘arm’ of the disease triangle, meaning that a rich base of forest pathology can be leveraged to understand how disturbances are likely to impact diseases. Reciprocal interactions between disease and disturbance are poorly studied but landscape ecology has developed tools that can identify how they affect the dynamics of ecosystems and landscapes.
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