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Development of improved pest risk analysis techniques for quarantine pests, using pinewood nematode, bursaphelenchus xylophilus, in Portugal as a model system

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Stopping the pinewood nematode in its tracks

The LIFE QUALITY Programme funded forestry experts to develop tools to address threats to the health of European forests associated with invasive pests.

Climate Change and Environment

The pinewood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus), or PWN, has caused significant damage to pine forests in parts of Asia as well as the United States. More recently, the PWN has been identified on the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal. Hence, the need to develop effective pest management strategies in Europe has never been greater. The Tree Health Division of Forest Research in the United Kingdom coordinated a research project entitled PHRAME dedicated to this task. An important component of the work programme involved the creation of a model capable of estimating the risk of lethal wilting associated with PWN infestation. The scientists integrated a number of sub-models that determine the rate of tree growth according to soil and weather conditions as well as nutrient availability. During PHRAME, the new model was used to predict wilting in pine stands in Portugal. The results were highly encouraging, though Forest Research emphasised the need for high quality input data to drive the model. The PHRAME research consortium can provide consulting services to all potential stakeholders. It should also be noted that other invasive tree pests can be treated in a similar fashion.

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