Drivers of Forest Pathogen Invasions: The Roles of Global Trade and Climate Change

Steve Woodward, Refika Ceyda Beram, Hatice Tuğba Doğmuş-Lehtijärvi* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In the past 25 to 30 years, a marked increase has occurred in numbers of invasive alien pests and pathogens recorded, damaging agriculture, horticulture and forest environments. The reasons for this upsurge are clear: all involve human driven factors, with, arguably, global trade as the most important component in the complex. Climate change is another major factor. Each plant transported through trade could carry cryptic pests or pathogens, which may be introduced into previously naïve environments and lead to major health issues on previously unaffected plants. Global trade in plants is a complex system, driven by a desire to use large plants in landscapes and demand for varied species for gardens. Examples of invasive alien pathogens causing wide-spread problems on a global scale currently include many Phytophthora species, Dothistroma needle blight of pines, and Xylella fastidiosa on a wide range of trees. A striking example recently was the spread of the Dutch elm disease pathogen, Ophiostoma novo-ulmi, in North America and Western Europe. Many
invasive pathogens cause problems in localized regions, including Ceratocystis platani, killing Platanus in some European countries. Other examples include the threat of pine wilt nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus), damage to Cupressus
in Mediterranean landscapes caused by Seiridium cardinale, dieback of sweet chestnut (Castanea) caused by the canker pathogen, Cryphonectria parasitica, and many others. In addition to global trade, climate change appears to be exacerbating the problems, with major influences on establishment and spread of alien invasive species. Hope lies in the enormous genetic ‘power’ of plants: humans could establish selection and breeding programmes that will ultimately enable us to plant trees with greater tolerance of changing climate and pests and pathogens, whether native or invasive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSouth-east European forestry (SEEFOR)
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2022


  • Invasive alien pathogens
  • Global trade
  • Phytophthora
  • Ophiostoma
  • Dothistroma
  • Ceratocystis
  • Cryphonectria


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