CABI joined an international team of researchers from 57 institutions around the world to share their expertise in a study that highlights the urgent need to protect the world’s forests from non-native pests amid climate change. .
The study, led by Dr. Iva Franić-who at the time of the research was a Ph.D. student co-supervised by Dr. René Eschen of CABI—stressed the urgent need to limit tree pests and improve the resilience of forest ecosystems in the face of rising temperatures.
Published in the journal Scientific reportsthe scientists—which also include Dr. Marc Kenis of CABI and Dr. Hongmei Li—argues that by understanding the intricate relationships between climate, host species, and geography, stakeholders can develop strategies to protect the world’s forests and the valuable benefits they provide.
The study involved an extensive survey of insects and fungi associated with dormant branches of 155 tree species in 51 botanical gardens or arboreta in 32 countries on six continents. The researchers determined the relative importance of various factors in driving differences in tree-related communities.
The results show that mean annual temperature, phylogenetic distance between hosts, and geographic distance between locations are the main drivers of dissimilarities.
Of particular concern is the increasing importance of high temperatures in the differences observed in the studied communities, suggesting that climate change directly and indirectly affects organisms related to tree by moving the ranges of the host.
The researchers also found that insect and fungal communities showed greater similarity when associated with closely related species in the herd, implying that shifts in herd range may facilitate the emergence of the bag. -ong pests.
In addition, the diversity of tree-associated communities increases with geographic distance, meaning that human-mediated transport can facilitate the introduction of new pests into a forest.
Dr. Franić, who currently works at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL said, “The findings of the study show that climatic factors play an important role in the formation of the composition of fungi, especially saprotrophic and plant pathogenic fungi, as well as herbivorous insects associated with trees.”
“Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of host-related factors, such as phylogenetic distance and tree density, in the formation of these communities. Closely related host species were found to have more species of insects and fungi, suggesting a co-evolutionary relationship.”
The scientists suggest that geographic factors also play an important role, with distance between locations emerging as a critical driver of diversity. The study found distinct geographic structure within continents for plant pathogenic fungi and herbivorous insects, indicating limited dispersal between locations. However, the exchange of plant material across continents can lead to the introduction of new pests and pathogens.
Dr. Eschen, a co-author of the research, said, “The findings of this study provide important insights into the complex dynamics of tree-related communities and highlight the importance of proactive measures to protect the health of the forest in the face of environmental challenges.”
“As climate change and global trade continue to shape our world, understanding and predicting these changes will be critical for the long-term sustainability of our forests.”
The scientists concluded by emphasizing that the protection of the environmental and social benefits of wood, therefore, will depend on limiting the establishment of new forest pests and increasing the stability of trees and forest ecosystems in climate change.
Iva Franić et al, Climate, host and geography shape insect and fungal communities in trees, Scientific reports (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-36795-w
Citation: Study highlights urgent need to protect world’s forests from non-native pests in face of climate change (2023, July 18) retrieved on July 19, 2023 from https://phys.org/news /2023-07-highlights-urgent-world-forests-non-native.html
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