Foreword: plant and canopy architecture impact on disease epidemiology and pest development
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KeywordsArchitectural features Epidemiological processes Innovative crop protection system Interdisciplinary research
Developing and implementing alternatives to the ‘pesticide only’ approach requires improvements in current pest control methods (using Decision Support Systems, longer rotations, more robust cultivars, mixed crops, crop management…), but also the generation of new knowledge that can be put to use in integrated and innovative crop production systems. Innovative studies are now needed that place the plant at the centre of the crop protection system; and, to do so, analyse how plant architectural traits can be used to limit or suppress disease epidemics.
This topic is not new: it was indeed an important field of research before the advent of the ‘pesticide only’ approach that has dominated the practise of plant protection since the 1970s. Today there is a renewed impetus, firstly because of the societal pressure to develop environmentally friendlier pest control strategies, but also thanks to the advances in experimental and modelling activities which now allow truly interdisciplinary work when tackling complex systems. This volume puts together the main keynote papers delivered to the conference1 “Plant and Canopy Architecture Impact on Disease Epidemiology and Pest Development”, held in Rennes, France, in July 2012. The papers illustrate disciplinary complementarities, by including contributions from plant pathologists, disease epidemiologists, entomologists, agronomists, plant and crop physiologists, bioclimatologists, plant geneticists and applied mathematicians. Many papers are co-authored by specialists from different disciplinary origins, highlighting the integrative efforts that need to be made to tackle a problem that may appear at first to be relevant only to plant pathologists.
to define plant and canopy architecture in the context of plant disease epidemiology (Costes et al., this issue), and analyse the main characteristics that have to be known for epidemics and pathogen development (Tivoli et al., this issue);
to dissect and disentangle the direct impact of some architectural characteristics on pathogen processes and epidemic behaviour (Calonnec et al., this issue; Scherm et al., this issue) and their consequences on pathogen dynamics through indirect changes in the canopy microclimate (Richard et al., this issue);
to understand and use the genetic control of architectural traits involved in epidemic reduction (Miklas et al., this issue);
to quantify the impact of these modifications on yield losses (Grumet and Ando, this issue; Smith et al., this issue);
to investigate for various crops the possibilities for combining architectural management and other disease control methods, through the use of cultural practices or genetic resistance, to reduce the use of pesticides (Mc Donald et al., this issue).
This conference was organised by INRA (French National Institute of Agronomical Research), Agrocampus Ouest Institute and SFP (French Plant Pathology Society), with funding from the French National Research Agency ANR (ARCHIDEMIO project grant ANR-08-STRA-04), INRA, the Brittany Region and Rennes Métropole.
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