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 Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 February 2022) | Viewed by 6571

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

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Keywords

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

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Identification and Characterization of Nectria pseudotrichia Associated with Camellia Canker Disease in China
Forests 2022, 13(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13010029 - 27 Dec 2021
Viewed by 704
Abstract
Camellia japonica is a native tree species with high economic value that is widely cultivated in southern China. In recent years, canker disease has been observed in camellia plantations in Zhejiang Province, China, with the disease incidence rate in some plantations exceeding 20%. [...] Read more.
Camellia japonica is a native tree species with high economic value that is widely cultivated in southern China. In recent years, canker disease has been observed in camellia plantations in Zhejiang Province, China, with the disease incidence rate in some plantations exceeding 20%. Canker disease severely affects the trunks and branches of C. japonica in China, but the causal agent has not yet been identified. In this study, the pathogen was isolated from infected C. japonica tissues through a conventional tissue isolation approach. Species identification was conducted using morphological methods combined with multilocus phylogenetic analysis. Pathogenicity was tested based on Koch’s postulates. The results showed that the pathogen could be isolated from the diseased bark of C. japonica ‘Hongluzhen’. The pathogen was identified as Nectria pseudotrichia based on morphological, cultural, and molecular traits. The inoculation of the pathogen into C. japonica ‘Hongluzhen’ caused necrotic lesions on healthy seedlings, and the fungus N. pseudotrichia could be re-isolated from such lesions. Therefore, N. pseudotrichia is the causal agent of canker disease affecting C. japonica in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Identification and Management of Forest Diseases)
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Article
Survey, Identification, and Pathogenicity of Ceratocystis fimbriata Complex Associated with Wilt Disease on Acacia mangium in Malaysia
Forests 2021, 12(12), 1782; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121782 - 16 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 826
Abstract
Ceratocystis wilt disease surveys were conducted in three selected Malaysian Acacia mangium plantations. These completed surveys revealed the occurrence of the wilt disease, with the incidence of infection ranging from 7.5% to 13.6%. Signs of wood-boring insects, bark peeling due to squirrel activity, [...] Read more.
Ceratocystis wilt disease surveys were conducted in three selected Malaysian Acacia mangium plantations. These completed surveys revealed the occurrence of the wilt disease, with the incidence of infection ranging from 7.5% to 13.6%. Signs of wood-boring insects, bark peeling due to squirrel activity, and pruning wounds were often associated with this disease. The fungus most frequently isolated from the diseased trees was the Ceratocystis fungus. The analysis on the morphological characteristics has identified the fungus as Ceratocystis fimbriata complex. Phylogenetic analysis based on the sequences of the ITS, and concatenated sequences of EF1α-βT regions grouped the isolates within the C. fimbriata sensu stricto, in comparison to other C. fimbriata isolates. Pathogenicity tests were conducted on six to nine-month-old healthy A. mangium seedlings by inoculating these seedlings with eight out of the 16 isolates. The results demonstrated that all the isolates were pathogenic, with mortality beginning as early as two weeks after inoculation. However, an ANOVA test indicated a significant difference between the pathogenicity levels among the fungal isolates. The results also showed that pathogen aggressiveness was not correlated with geographical origin. A host range test was also conducted by using C. fimbriata SSB3 and FRIM1162 isolates against several forest plantation species. The findings suggested that only A. mangium was susceptible to C. fimbriata. The other species remained healthy with no symptoms of infection even after seven weeks of treatment, as compared to the A. mangium species, where between 38 to 60% of the inoculated plants had died. This study provides new information on the status of Ceratocystis wilt disease, especially on the occurrence and effects on A. mangium plantation, by giving insights on how to control and manage this ferocious plant pathogen in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Identification and Management of Forest Diseases)
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Article
Phytophthora Root and Collar Rot of Paulownia, a New Disease for Europe
Forests 2021, 12(12), 1664; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121664 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1318
Abstract
Paulownia species are fast growing trees native to China, which are being grown in managed plantings in several European countries for the production of wood and biomasses. In 2018, wilting, stunting, leaf yellowing, and collapse, as a consequence of root and crown rot, [...] Read more.
Paulownia species are fast growing trees native to China, which are being grown in managed plantings in several European countries for the production of wood and biomasses. In 2018, wilting, stunting, leaf yellowing, and collapse, as a consequence of root and crown rot, were observed in around 40% of trees of a 2-year-old planting of Paulownia elongata × P. fortunei in Calabria (Southern Italy). Two species of Phytophthora were consistently recovered from roots, basal stem bark, and rhizosphere soil of symptomatic trees and were identified as Ph. nicotianae and Ph. palmivora on the basis of both morphological characteristics and phylogenetic analysis of rDNA ITS sequences. Koch’s postulates were fulfilled by reproducing the symptoms on potted paulownia saplings transplanted into infested soil or stem-inoculated by wounding. Both Phytophthora species were pathogenic and caused root rot and stem cankers. Even though P. palmivora was the only species recovered from roots of naturally infected plants, in pathogenicity tests through infested soil P. nicotianae was more virulent. This is the first report of Phytophthora root and crown rot of a Paulownia species in Europe. Strategies to prevent this emerging disease include the use of healthy nursery plants, choice of well-drained soils for new plantations, and proper irrigation management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Identification and Management of Forest Diseases)
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Article
Structure and Abundance of Fusarium Communities Inhabiting the Litter of Beech Forests in Central Europe
Forests 2021, 12(6), 811; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12060811 - 19 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
Members of the genus Fusarium and related genera are important components of many ecosystems worldwide and are responsible for many plant diseases. However, the structure of beech litter-inhabiting Fusarium communities and their potential role in reducing the natural regeneration of European beech are [...] Read more.
Members of the genus Fusarium and related genera are important components of many ecosystems worldwide and are responsible for many plant diseases. However, the structure of beech litter-inhabiting Fusarium communities and their potential role in reducing the natural regeneration of European beech are not well understood. To address this issue, we examined Fusarium communities in the litter of uneven-aged, old-growth beech-dominated forests in the Carpathians (Poland) and in the Alps (Austria), and in a managed beech stand (Poland). The fungi inhabiting beech litter were investigated using beechnuts and pine seedlings as bait. The pathogenicity of the most common species was investigated by inoculating beech germinants. Fusarium spp. were identified based on morphology and DNA sequence comparisons of RPB2 and TEF1-α genes, combined with phylogenetic analyses. Twelve fungal species were identified from 402 isolates, including nine known and three currently undescribed species. The isolates resided in three species complexes within the genus Fusarium. These were the F. oxysporum (one taxon), F. sambucinum (three taxa), and F. tricinctum (six taxa) species complexes. In addition, one isolate was assigned to the genus Neocosmospora, and one isolate could be placed within the genus Fusicolla. The most frequently isolated fungi from beechnuts and beech germinants were F. avenaceum (Fr.) Sacc., F. sporotrichioides Sherb. and Fusarium sp. B. The structure and abundance of species within Fusarium communities varied by beech forest type. The species richness of Fusarium spp. was greatest in old-growth beech-dominated stands, while abundances of Fusarium spp. were higher in managed beech-dominated stands. Pathogenicity tests showed that all four Fusarium species isolated from beechnuts and beech germinants could cause germinants to rot beech, suggesting that these fungi may play a negative role in the natural beech regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Identification and Management of Forest Diseases)
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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
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1390
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
Viewed by 777
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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