European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 133, Issue 1, pp 101–116 | Cite as

Impacts of exotic forest pathogens on Mediterranean ecosystems: four case studies

  • Matteo Garbelotto
  • Marco Pautasso


Mediterranean ecosystems are hotspots of biodiversity. Because of a coincidence of high species richness and human presence, Mediterranean biodiversity is particularly threatened by processes such as habitat degradation, fragmentation and loss, pollution, climate change and introduction of invasive species. Invasive tree pathogens are among the problematic exotic species of California, Chile, the Mediterranean, South Africa and Australia. In this review, we provide an update on a selection of non-native tree pathogens currently posing a threat in Mediterranean ecosystems. The impact of exotic forest pathogens range from large-scale tree and shrub mortality in native ecosystems (Phytophthora ramorum on the West Coast of the USA) to disruption of plantations of exotic (e.g., Seiridium cardinale on planted Monterey cypress in California, Fusarium circinatum on Monterey pine worldwide) and native trees (introduction of the North American Heterobasidion irregulare in stone pine woodland in Italy). Genetic analyses are instrumental in improving our understanding and management of these outbreaks. There is a need for more empirical data on how novel pathosystems are likely to develop under novel climates, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations among forest pathologists, theoretical modellers and climatologists. The magnitude of the observed effects of some exotic tree diseases makes it important to try and minimize the risk of the inadvertent movement of plant pathogens when planning assisted migration activities to enable plant species to cope with rapid climate change.


Biodiversity Forest health Geographical genetics Global change Host susceptibility Landscape epidemiology Multiple trade-offs Sudden Oak Death Transmission rates Tree fungal pathogens 



Many thanks to C. Brasier, M.I. Clara, K. Dehnen-Schmutz, S. Frankel, P. Gonthier, E. Hansen, J. Hayden, O. Holdenrieder, M. Jeger, V. Kertesz, C. Manceau, S. Mascheretti, M. Moslonka-Lefebvre, G. Nicolotti, J. Parke, S. Prospero, T. Rafoss, D. Rizzo, S. Tramontini, A. Vannini, A. Vettraino, S. Vos, X. Xu, J. Webber for insights and discussions, and to T. Matoni and anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on a previous draft. This review is based on a presentation by M. Garbelotto at the Climate Change and Plant Disease Management Conference, University of Evora, Portugal, 10–12 November 2010.


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© KNPV 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Ecosystem Sciences DivisionUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CEFE)CNRSMontpellier Cedex 5France

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