Special Issue "Ecology, Identification and Management of Forest Diseases"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 October 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Roberto Faedda
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
Interests: diversity and evolution of oomycetes and fungal species; oomycetes and fungal diseases diagnosis; emerging plant diseases; plant disease management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The protection of forests from biotic diseases and abiotic disorders is crucial for the conservation of biodiversity and the environmental, ecological, and social roles of forest ecosystems. In the last several decades, international trade and climate change have been increasing the threat to forest ecosystems posed by new diseases worldwide. In this context, it is essential to expand knowledge on forest pathosystems, ecological aspects of forest pathogens, and sustainable control strategies. This Special Issue aims to explore pathological problems occurring in natural and semi-natural forest ecosystems, as well as forest nurseries. We invite contributions which provide new insights into the ecology, etiology, and management of forest diseases. Original research works on practical aspects of forest disease diagnosis, epidemiology, and population genetics of forest plant pathogens are also welcome.

Dr. Roberto Faedda
Guest Editor

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 pathogens
  • New forest diseases
  • Forest diseases diagnosis
  • Biodiversity
  • Forest decline

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Rapid Detection of Pine Pathogens Lecanosticta acicola, Dothistroma pini and D. septosporum on Needles by Probe-Based LAMP Assays
Forests 2021, 12(4), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12040479 - 14 Apr 2021
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Abstract
Needle blights are serious needle fungal diseases affecting pines both in natural and productive forests. Among needle blight agents, the ascomycetes Lecanosticta acicola, Dothistroma pini and D. septosporum are of particular concern. These pathogens need specific, fast and accurate diagnostics since they [...] Read more.
Needle blights are serious needle fungal diseases affecting pines both in natural and productive forests. Among needle blight agents, the ascomycetes Lecanosticta acicola, Dothistroma pini and D. septosporum are of particular concern. These pathogens need specific, fast and accurate diagnostics since they are regulated species in many countries and may require differential management measures. Due to the similarities in fungal morphology and the symptoms they elicit, these species are hard to distinguish using morphological characteristics. The symptoms can also be confused with those caused by insects or abiotic agents. DNA-based detection is therefore recommended. However, the specific PCR assays that have been produced to date for the differential diagnosis of these pathogens can be applied only in a well-furnished laboratory and the procedure takes a relatively long execution time. Surveillance and forest protection would benefit from a faster diagnostic method, such as a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay, which requires less sophisticated equipment and can also be deployed directly on-site using portable devices. LAMP assays for the rapid and early detection of L. acicola, D. pini and D. septosporum were developed in this work. Species-specific LAMP primers and fluorescent assimilating probes were designed for each assay, targeting the beta tubulin (β-tub2) gene for the two Dothistroma species and the elongation factor (EF-1α) region for L. acicola. Each reaction detected its respective pathogen rapidly and with high specificity and sensitivity in DNA extracts from both pure fungal cultures and directly from infected pine needles. These qualities and the compatibility with inexpensive portable instrumentation position these LAMP assays as an effective method for routine phytosanitary control of plant material in real time, and they could profitably assist the management of L. acicola, D. pini and D. septosporum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Identification and Management of Forest Diseases)
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Article
Aspergillus tubingensis Is a Pre-Emergent Pathogen of Date Palm Seedlings
Forests 2020, 11(12), 1327; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121327 - 14 Dec 2020
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Abstract
Many diseases of date palm are known. However, pathogens that might affect seed germination and seedling emergence from soil are poorly studied, perhaps because date palm cultivars are propagated vegetatively. Here, we first determined the effects of date seed fungi on the germination [...] Read more.
Many diseases of date palm are known. However, pathogens that might affect seed germination and seedling emergence from soil are poorly studied, perhaps because date palm cultivars are propagated vegetatively. Here, we first determined the effects of date seed fungi on the germination and emergence of 600 seeds overall (i.e., 200 of each of three cultivars: ‘Thoory’, ‘Halawi’, and ‘Barhi’). In each cultivar, 100 seeds were from Saudi Arabia (part of the native range), and 100 were from the southwestern USA (where the date palm was introduced around 1765). Just four fungal genera (i.e., Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, and Penicillium) were isolated from the surface-sterilized date seeds. Aspergillus isolates all belonged to Aspergillus sect. Nigri; collectively they were in the highest relative abundance at 39%, and significantly more common in Saudi Arabian seeds than in American seeds. Aspergillus reduced seed germination and also reduced emergence when germinated and non-germinated seeds were planted in potting mix in a greenhouse. In contrast, Penicillium species were more common in American than in Saudi seeds; Penicillium did not affect germination, although it did have a positive effect on seedling emergence. In a second experiment with 17 seeds of the ‘Halawi’ cultivar, fungus-free seeds were either inoculated with isolates of Aspergillus sect. Nigri or not, and then planted. Controls emerged whereas Aspergillus-inoculated seeds did not. Finally, a third experiment was conducted with Aspergillus tubingensis Mosseray, a sect. Nigri member, as sole inoculum of 100 ‘Halawi’ seeds versus 100 uninoculated controls. Aspergillus tubingensis exerted the same pathogenic effects on germinating and emerging seedlings as the isolates identified only to Aspergillus sect. Nigri. Aspergillus tubingensis is thus a previously unreported, seedborne pathogen affecting date palm seedlings. Our findings also suggest that A. tubingensis may be more common in seeds in the host’s native range than in its introduced range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Identification and Management of Forest Diseases)
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