Climate change and forest health
Examples of forest pest species influenced by climate change*
Some examples of forest insect pests, pathogens and other pests which have been impacted or are predicted to be impacted by climate change are presented below. Information on non-forest pests is also provided to enable a better understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on forest health.
The oak jewel beetle, Agrilus pannonicus, has recently been associated with a European oak decline throughout its natural range and has increased in incidence in several countries including France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands and the UK. Incidences of Agrilus species have increased worldwide (both in their countries of origin and by international movement) and their impacts are being linked to host tree stress potentially caused by climate change. [more...]
The red band needle blight, Mycosphaerella pini, infects and kills the needles of Pinus spp. resulting in significant defoliation, stunted growth and eventually death of host trees. In its native range this fungus normally causes little damage, but since the late 1990s it has been causing extensive defoliation and mortality in young plantations of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) in northwestern British Columbia, Canada. The current epidemic coincides with a prolonged period of increased frequency of warm rain events throughout the mid- to late-1990s allowing for the rapid spread and increased rates of infection. Unlike many other pests, changes in precipitation patterns may be more important than changes in temperature for predicting the spread and impact of M. pini. [more...]
In general there is a close correlation between soil temperatures and the distributions of some plant-parasitic species of nematode. Recently, Meloidogyne incognita, previously deemed limited to the Mediterranean area, was found in the Netherlands. It is also believed that a 1 °C rise in temperature would allow Longidorus caespiticola to become established further north in Great Britain. [more...]
* More detailed information, including references, can be found in our publication Climate change impacts on forest health.