Australasian Plant Pathology

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 133–139 | Cite as

2003 Daniel McAlpine Memorial Lecture Increasing threat of diseases to exotic plantation forests in the Southern Hemisphere: lessons from Cryphonectria canker

  • Michael J. WingfieldEmail author


Plantation forestry in the Southern Hemisphere has grown dramatically in the last hundred years. This has largely been due to the exceptional growth and performance of exotic species, particularly Pinus, Eucalyptus and Acacia. It is generally recognised that the success of these plantations has, at least in part, been due to the separation of the trees from their natural enemies. In this regard, the trees have performed similarly to weeds. Indeed, in some situations, species regarded as highly desirable for forestry are also recognised as noxious weeds. The artificial barrier between exotic plantation species and their pathogens is, however, crumbling. Despite intensive efforts to exclude pests and pathogens from countries now dependent on plantations of exotic trees, new and seriously damaging incursions are occurring with increasing frequency. Cryphonectria canker of Eucalyptus caused by Cryphonectria cubensis provides an important and interesting example and is used in this paper to illustrate emerging trends. These include evidence to suggest that native pathogens, previously thought to be relatively host specific and non-threatening, are adapting to infect exotic plantation trees. Other than the damage that these pathogens are causing to exotics, they now pose a serious threat to the same or related tree species in their areas of origin. This tremendous threat is only just being recognised and it is little understood. This is, at least in part, due to a poor understanding of the taxonomy and ecology of even some of the better known tree pathogens. Intensive efforts will be required to protect the sustainability of exotic plantation forestry. They will also be needed to ensure that ‘new pathogens’ do not lead to destruction of the same or related tree species in their areas of origin.


Australasian Plant Pathology Exotic Plantation Australasian Plant Pathology Society Exotic Plantation Species Enemy Release Hypothesis 
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Copyright information

© Australasian Plant Pathology Society 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI)University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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