HOMED research investigates the possibilities for applying biological control to emerging forest diseases
A research article recently published in the Forest Ecology and Management journal presents an overview of the biological control method applied to forest management. The paper called "Biological control of emerging forest diseases: How can we move from dreams to reality?" provides insight into the advantages of the application of biological control of emerging forest diseases in combination with other sustainable management strategies.
Figure 1. Main factors of regulation of fungal pathogen (including oomycetes) - tree interaction and BCA candidates. Source: Prospero S, Botella L, Santini A, Robin C (2021). Biological control of emerging forest diseases: How can we move from dreams to reality?, Forest Ecology and Management, Volume 496, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2021.119377.
Authors of the article, amongst whom HOMED researchers, analyse the different approaches to biological control, applied in various fields of agriculture and forestry. They emphasize on the difference between bottom-up and top-down approaches, and evaluate the specifics of applying biological control methods on forest pests and pathogens. Based on the theoretical and practical points discussed in the paper, the authors suggest a number of guidelines and recommendations for developing successful biological controls of fungal tree pathogens.
To increase the chances of success of biological control in forest pathology, the authors outline the necessity of a holistic approach, involving the use of top-down regulators, competitors and amensalists that exert pressure on the pathogen, as well as bottom-up forces helping the host. The paper encourages the full integration of biological control with other sustainable management strategies (e.g., sanitation cuttings, reduction of host density, and enhancing the use of resistant trees).
Read the full article here.