European researchers have made headway in recording and developing an information database on a newly introduced pathogen that poses a risk to trees in Europe and the United States.
The 'Risk analysis for Phytophthora ramorum, a newly recognised pathogen threat to Europe and the cause of Sudden Oak Death in the USA' (RAPRA) project investigated the newly described cause of sudden oak death, Phytophthora ramorum.The EU-funded study aimed to determine the risks posed to European trees, its woodland ecosystems and other important environmental habitats.
Specifically, project partners worked to advance a more accurate pest risk analysis (PRA) for isolates of P. ramorum in the European Union and the United States. The newly described species has only recently been introduced to these regions.
In Europe, home to the Al mating type, it is presently the most significant quarantine pathogen, albeit mostly restricted to certain ornamental genera in nurseries or a few managed gardens. It has not yet been found on trees.
The RAPRA project developed database 1.1 offering records of P. ramorum–infected plants and trees found in Europe. The database is useful for risk mapping with over 2 000 records covering as many as 83 naturally infected species. Data supplied to RAPRA by various Member States and other European countries were compiled into a series of maps, which were made available on the RAPRA public website. Records supplied were also analysed for trends in the number of surveys and the proportion of positives found for each country between 2004 and 2006.
Another project outcome is related to work on the development, refining and publication of a European PRA for P. ramorum. Although not yet completed, the document underpins and seeks to advise EU plant health policy and legislation.
Beyond the duration of the project, the RAPRA website continues to communicate and disseminate project results as well as information regarding the risks posed by P. ramorum.