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Special Issue "Forest Insects and Pathogens in a Changing Environment: Ecology, Monitoring & Genetics (IUFRO Joint Meeting of WP7.03.05 & 7.03.10)"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Dimitrios N. Avtzis

Forest Research Institute, Hellenic Agricultural Organization Demeter, Vassilika 57006, Thessaloniki, Greece
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Guest Editor
Dr. Rudolf Wegensteiner

Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, Institute of Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology and Forest Protection, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Peter Jordan Straße 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

After the successful conclusion of the Joint Meeting of IUFRO’s 7.03.05 & 7.03.10 working parties, and given the exciting and novel studies that have been presented in the framework of the meeting, I am very happy to inform you that the journal Forests kindly agreed to host a Special Issue with the most interesting results. The natural environment is constantly changing due to anthropogenic activities, and their impact on forest pests and pathogens cannot be neglected. Frequent insect population outbreaks, invasion of exotic pathogens and the unpredictable damages they cause, all point out to the importance of collaborations not only at regional but more importantly at international scale. Only this exchange of knowledge can serve as a protective net against the challenging and changing environment. To that, we encourage studies from all fields, ranging from experimental studies and monitoring techniques to model predictions and genetic analyses, to contribute to this Special Issue in order to promote knowledge that will fortify forest ecosystems in the future to come.

The Special Issue is also open to receiving regular submissions that discuss a relevant topic.

Dr. Dimitrios N. Avtzis
Dr. Rudolf Wegensteiner
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Forest pests
  • Forest pathogens
  • Climate change
  • Population outbreak
  • Invasive insects
  • Bark beetles
  • Forest Management
  • Phylogeography

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Shallow Genetic Structure among the European Populations of the Six-Toothed Bark Beetle Ips sexdentatus (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae)
Forests 2019, 10(2), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020136
Received: 3 January 2019 / Revised: 5 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 7 February 2019
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Abstract
The six-toothed bark beetle, Ips sexdentatus, is one of the most abundant scolytid species of the central and southern European countries. It mostly feeds on Pinus sp., whereas during population outbreaks it can also attack Picea sp. In spite of its broad [...] Read more.
The six-toothed bark beetle, Ips sexdentatus, is one of the most abundant scolytid species of the central and southern European countries. It mostly feeds on Pinus sp., whereas during population outbreaks it can also attack Picea sp. In spite of its broad distribution, its phylogeography has never been studied before. To do that, we employed an mtDNA marker on 489 individuals that covered most of its native range in Europe. Geographic distribution of the 86 haplotypes showed that at least three glacial refugia have played a significant role in shaping the currently observed pattern of genetic divergence in Europe, without excluding the contribution of minor refugial areas that acted in a similar manner. The revealed shallow structure can be considered an artifact of factors that reduced intraspecific diversity, at the same time favoring gene flow. As such, biological traits of the species itself (flying ability and host preference) and even human-mediated transport of wood seem to be the most prevailing and probable reasons that gave rise to the observed pattern. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Infection Levels of the Microsporidium Larssoniella duplicati in Populations of the Invasive Bark Beetle Ips duplicatus: From Native to New Outbreak Areas
Forests 2019, 10(2), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020131
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 23 January 2019 / Accepted: 4 February 2019 / Published: 6 February 2019
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Abstract
The microsporidium Larssoniella duplicati (Weiser, Holuša, Žižka, 2006) is a specific pathogen of the bark beetle Ips duplicatus (C.R. Sahlberg, 1836), which is a serious pest of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst) in Europe. From 2011 to 2016, infection levels [...] Read more.
The microsporidium Larssoniella duplicati (Weiser, Holuša, Žižka, 2006) is a specific pathogen of the bark beetle Ips duplicatus (C.R. Sahlberg, 1836), which is a serious pest of Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) H. Karst) in Europe. From 2011 to 2016, infection levels of L. duplicati and other pathogens in I. duplicatus populations were assessed along a gradient, ranging from areas in the north, where the beetle is native, to areas in the south, where the beetle has only recently invaded. The 21 study sites ranged in altitude from 229 to 1009 m a.s.l. We found that pathogen infection levels in I. duplicatus populations decreased from the native areas in the north to the new areas of beetle expansion in the south. We also found that pathogen level increased with altitude. The L. duplicati infection levels were not associated with the infection levels of other beetle natural enemies. The infection level decreased with the length of time of beetle establishment in an area. The infection level increased with the number of beetles trapped and dissected at a site. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Stand Characteristics and Soil Properties Affecting the Occurrence of Kunyushan Web-Spinning Sawfly (Cephalcia kunyushanica Xiao) in Japanese Red Pine (Pinus densiflora) Pure Forests in the Kunyushan Mountains, China
Forests 2018, 9(12), 760; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120760
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 1 December 2018 / Accepted: 3 December 2018 / Published: 5 December 2018
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Abstract
The Kunyushan web-spinning sawfly (Cephalcia kunyushanica) is a major pest in the Japanese red pine (JRP, Pinus densiflora) pure forests in the Kunyushan Mountains of China. In this study, four stand types (ST1–4) were identified in plots of JRP pure [...] Read more.
The Kunyushan web-spinning sawfly (Cephalcia kunyushanica) is a major pest in the Japanese red pine (JRP, Pinus densiflora) pure forests in the Kunyushan Mountains of China. In this study, four stand types (ST1–4) were identified in plots of JRP pure forests, based on the pest severity index (PSI; ranging from 0–100). The order of infestation ratio in the four type stands was as follows: ST4 > ST3 > ST2 > ST1. We investigated the correlation of C. kunyushanica occurrence with stand characteristics and soil physicochemical properties in the four stand types. The results showed that all stand characteristics were different among the four stand types. Compared with infested plots, healthy (ST1) plots had a higher soil bulk density, and the differences among the groups were significant. Differences in soil water content, non-capillary porosity, and total porosity were significant among the four ST groups. The average organic matter content, total nitrogen (N), and available N were lower in ST1 plots, whereas total potassium (K) was higher compared with other ST groups. In addition, a redundancy analysis suggested that seven (total N, diameter at breast height (DBH), soil water content, bulk density, available K, zinc ion (Zn2+), and stem density) of 24 environmental variables were significantly correlated with the ordinations of C. kunyushanica occurrence. The results provide theoretical guidance for the ecological control of C. kunyushanica, and are also useful for the management of forests in areas where C. kunyushanica is a major pest and where site and stand conditions are similar. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Early Detection and Identification of the Main Fungal Pathogens for Resistance Evaluation of New Genotypes of Forest Trees
Forests 2018, 9(12), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9120732
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
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Abstract
The growing importance of forest plantations increases the demand for phytopathogen resistant forest trees. This study describes an effective method for early detection and identification of the main fungal phytopathogens in planting material of silver birch (Betula pendula) and downy birch [...] Read more.
The growing importance of forest plantations increases the demand for phytopathogen resistant forest trees. This study describes an effective method for early detection and identification of the main fungal phytopathogens in planting material of silver birch (Betula pendula) and downy birch (B. pubescens), based on the estimation of the size of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS1 and ITS2) in the 18S-5.8S-28S rDNA gene cluster, which are species-specific for most micromycetes. The electrophoretic assay of the ITS1 and ITS2 loci has allowed us to identify predominant phytopathogenic fungal species in downy and silver birch in planta. This new molecular genetic method can be used to screen birch and other forest trees for different fungal pathogens to evaluate disease resistance. This information can be useful in breeding new genotypes of forest trees, including transgenic clones with modified wood composition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Forest Management Practices on Moth Communities in a Japanese Larch (Larix kaempferi (Lamb.) Carrière) Plantation
Forests 2018, 9(9), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090574
Received: 7 July 2018 / Revised: 12 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 17 September 2018
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Abstract
Biodiversity in forests is strongly affected by forest management practices, such as clearcutting and aggregated retention. Therefore, the assessment of the effects of forest management on biodiversity is a major concern in forest ecology. In the present study, we aimed to characterize the [...] Read more.
Biodiversity in forests is strongly affected by forest management practices, such as clearcutting and aggregated retention. Therefore, the assessment of the effects of forest management on biodiversity is a major concern in forest ecology. In the present study, we aimed to characterize the effects of forest management practices, after one year, on the abundance, species richness, community composition, and functional groups of moths in forests. The moths were sampled in four different forest stands: three stands (clearcutting, aggregated retention, and no cutting) in a planted Japanese larch forest and one stand in a natural Mongolian oak forest. The results revealed that the moth communities changed in response to the changes in vegetation after the implementation of forest management practices, and clearcutting increased the abundance and species richness of herbivorous and warm-adapted species. The structure and function of moth communities were affected by the forest management practices such as clearcutting and aggregated retention, which were reflected by a decrease in community indices and change in moth community composition with changes in vegetation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Survival of European Ash Seedlings Treated with Phosphite after Infection with the Hymenoscyphus fraxineus and Phytophthora Species
Forests 2018, 9(8), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080442
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
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Abstract
The European Fraxinus species are threatened by the alien invasive pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, which was introduced into Poland in the 1990s and has spread throughout the European continent, causing a large-scale decline of ash. There are no effective treatments to protect ash trees [...] Read more.
The European Fraxinus species are threatened by the alien invasive pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, which was introduced into Poland in the 1990s and has spread throughout the European continent, causing a large-scale decline of ash. There are no effective treatments to protect ash trees against ash dieback, which is caused by this pathogen, showing high variations in susceptibility at the individual level. Earlier studies have shown that the application of phosphites could improve the health of treated seedlings after artificial inoculation with H. fraxineus. Three-year-old F. excelsior seedlings were inoculated with the following pathogens: a H. fraxineus, Phytophthora species mixture (P. plurivora, P. megasperma, and P. taxon hungarica), in combination with two pathogens and mock-inoculated as the control, and then either watered or treated with ammonium phosphite (Actifos). Results showed significant differences in the survival of seedlings and symptoms of disease development among the treatments. Chlorophyll-a fluorescence parameters indicated a decrease in photosynthetic efficiency in infected plants, suggesting that they were under strong biotic stress, but none of the parameters could be used as a reliable bioindicator for ash decline disease. The application of Actifos enhanced the production of triterpenes (ursolic and oleanolic acid), and decreased the production of phenols (tyrosol) and sterols (β-sitosterol) in seedlings infected with H. fraxineus. Treatment with Actifos caused seedlings to enhance their response to pathogen(s) attack and increase their survival probability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Widespread Distribution of Trypodendron laeve in the Carpathian Mountains (Romania)
Forests 2018, 9(6), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9060286
Received: 6 March 2018 / Revised: 5 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
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Abstract
Trypodendron laeve Eggers, 1939 is a species of ambrosia beetle much less known than the other three Trypodendron species occurring in Europe. Its status (native or alien) in Central Europe has been a subject of debate over the past two decades. In Romania, [...] Read more.
Trypodendron laeve Eggers, 1939 is a species of ambrosia beetle much less known than the other three Trypodendron species occurring in Europe. Its status (native or alien) in Central Europe has been a subject of debate over the past two decades. In Romania, the species was discovered in 2008 and the aim of the research presented in this paper was to investigate its distribution in the Carpathians, mainly at high altitudes (>800 m), in tree stands with Norway spruce (Picea abies [L.] H. Karst). Panel intercept traps baited with synthetic pheromone for Trypodendron lineatum (Olivier, 1795) were used in the spring of 2015, at 31 locations. Adults of T. laeve were caught in 20 of them. Additional observations were made within some studies using similar baits and T. laeve specimens were caught in eight locations. T. laeve was always trapped together with T. lineatum, and at some locations also together with T. domesticum (Linnaeus, 1758) and T. signatum (Fabricius, 1787). In all traps, fewer specimens of T. laeve were caught compared to T. lineatum. The species has a widespread distribution in the mountain regions, within forests composed of native tree species and generally located far away from commercial routes. There, it occurs together with other native species of the same taxonomic genus. It seems to be more abundant at high altitudes, but overall its populations are less abundant than those of T. lineatum. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Phytophthora cinnamomi Colonized Reclaimed Surface Mined Sites in Eastern Kentucky: Implications for the Restoration of Susceptible Species
Forests 2018, 9(4), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040203
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 13 April 2018
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Abstract
Appalachian forests are threatened by a number of factors, especially introduced pests and pathogens. Among these is Phytophthora cinnamomi, a soil-borne oomycete pathogen known to cause root rot in American chestnut, shortleaf pine, and other native tree species. This study was initiated [...] Read more.
Appalachian forests are threatened by a number of factors, especially introduced pests and pathogens. Among these is Phytophthora cinnamomi, a soil-borne oomycete pathogen known to cause root rot in American chestnut, shortleaf pine, and other native tree species. This study was initiated to characterize the incidence of P. cinnamomi on surface mined lands in eastern Kentucky, USA, representing a range of time since reclamation (10, 12, 15, and 20 years since reclamation). Incidence of P. cinnamomi was correlated to soil properties including overall soil development, as indicated by a variety of measured soil physical and chemical parameters, especially the accumulation of soil organic carbon. P. cinnamomi was detected in only two of the four sites studied, aged 15 and 20 years since reclamation. These sites were generally characterized by higher organic matter accumulation than the younger sites in which P. cinnamomi was not detected. These results demonstrate that P. cinnamomi is capable of colonizing reclaimed mine sites in Appalachia; additional research is necessary to determine the impact of P. cinnamomi on susceptible tree species at these sites. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Long-Term Assessment of Selective Pruning of Quercus Species for Controlling Populations of Coraebus florentinus (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) in Mediterranean Forests
Forests 2018, 9(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9020049
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
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Abstract
Coraebus florentinus (Herbst) is one of the most important wood borer pests damaging oak species in Mediterranean forests. Recently, the effect of temperature on the pre-imaginal development of this insect was established, and predictive models of survival and emergence in relation to temperature [...] Read more.
Coraebus florentinus (Herbst) is one of the most important wood borer pests damaging oak species in Mediterranean forests. Recently, the effect of temperature on the pre-imaginal development of this insect was established, and predictive models of survival and emergence in relation to temperature were performed, which allow scheduled management techniques to be fit in accordance with the biological timing of this species. In this study, the effect of selective pruning of damaged branches of Quercus species for controlling the population of this insect is assessed. The study was carried out in three plots located in the Sierra Morena Mountains (southern Iberian Peninsula). In each plot, forest features were typified, and the parameters “infestation level” and “population intensity” were quantified. The assessment was performed one year and five years after applying selective pruning. The most effective time to prune was established according to the predictive model mentioned above. After one year, the results indicated that selective pruning just before adult emergence was effective in reducing the population size and controlling damage. After five years, this effect was still significantly manifested. In addition, the results show that selective pruning is effective even in areas with lower initial rates of infestation. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Distribution, Habitat Preference, and Management of the Invasive Ambrosia Beetle Xylosandrus germanus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) in European Forests with an Emphasis on the West Carpathians
Forests 2019, 10(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10010010
Received: 3 December 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 25 December 2018
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Abstract
The black timber bark beetle Xylosandrus germanus (Blandford) is an invasive ambrosia beetle that originates from Southeast Asia and has become successfully established within Europe and North America. Herein, we provide a review of the spread and distribution of this tree and timber [...] Read more.
The black timber bark beetle Xylosandrus germanus (Blandford) is an invasive ambrosia beetle that originates from Southeast Asia and has become successfully established within Europe and North America. Herein, we provide a review of the spread and distribution of this tree and timber pest species across Europe, before and after 2000, along with a review of its habitat preferences. Since the spread of X. germanus across Europe has accelerated rapidly post-2000, emphasis is placed on this period. X. germanus was first recorded in Germany in 1951 and since then in 21 other European countries along with Russia. Ethanol-baited traps were deployed in oak, beech, and spruce forest ecosystems in the Western Carpathians, Central Europe, Slovakia, to characterize the distribution and habitat preferences of this non-native ambrosia beetle. Captures of X. germanus within Slovakia have been rising rapidly since its first record in 2010, and now this species dominates captures of ambrosia beetles. X. germanus has spread throughout Slovakia from south-southwest to north-northeast over a period of 5–10 years, and has also spread vertically into higher altitudes within the country. While living but weakened trees in Europe and North America are attacked by X. germanus, the greatest negative impact within Slovakia is attacks on recently felled logs of oak, beech and spruce trees, which provide high quality timber/lumber. We suggest that the recent rapid spread of X. germanus in Central Europe is being facilitated by environmental changes, specifically global warming, and the increasing frequency of timber trade. Recommendations for the management of X. germanus in forest ecosystems are proposed and discussed, including early detection, monitoring, sanitary measures, etc. Full article
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Open AccessReview Management of Chestnut Blight in Greece Using Hypovirulence and Silvicultural Interventions
Forests 2018, 9(8), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080492
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 27 July 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
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Abstract
Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) is an important tree for Greece. The invasive fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, which causes chestnut blight, was first found in Central Greece in 1963. It has since spread all over the country, significantly reducing the national annual [...] Read more.
Sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill.) is an important tree for Greece. The invasive fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, which causes chestnut blight, was first found in Central Greece in 1963. It has since spread all over the country, significantly reducing the national annual nut production. The increasing decline of forests and orchards due to the disease led to a project in 1995, which aimed at studying the feasibility of applying biological control. A prerequisite study of the existing vegetative compatibility types of the pathogen showed only four, and their distribution was mapped. A pilot project (1998–2000) that consisted of clear cutting heavily infected coppice stands and introducing hypovirulence to the remainder was implemented on Mt. Athos on a 7000 ha sweet chestnut forest. Two evaluations (in 2003 and 2011) revealed that hypovirulence was established in the sweet chestnut forests and spread more or less homogeneously. A nationwide project introducing hypovirulence to 29 counties was implemented in two, 3-yr-periods 2007–2009 (17 counties) and 2014–2016 (12 counties). The new evaluations showed that hypovirulence spread profoundly and forests and orchards started recovering. The appearance of natural hypovirulence cannot be predicted. Introduced hypovirulence and silvicultural interventions can be used to manage the disease. It is the responsibility of the forest/orchard manager to decide whether to wait for appearance of natural hypovirulence, or to introduce it for a faster decline in disease. Full article
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