Working Party on Plant Health, Resilience to Threats and Climate Change

Deriving from the merging of: Working Party on Poplar and Willow Diseases & Working Party on Poplar and Willow Insect and Other Animal Pests

 

Stem breakage at Hypoxylon canker
(Photo: FAO)

Septoria, leaf spot on poplar
(Photo: FAO)

Officers of the Working Party are:

Report from 47th Session of Executive Committee  

Report from 23rd Session

 The role of the working Party

FAO-IPC is the only scientific Committee that is not only concentrating on fundamental research of poplar and willow, but also on the practical aspect of poplar culture. This is very important because poplar and willow plantations are becoming more and more important again all over the world, mainly because of the use of the wood for bio-energy. At the same time, change of climatic conditions might have a great influence on the spread and appearance of poplar and willow diseases in the near future. In addition, international transfer of plant material (cuttings, sets) will enhance the (unwanted) spread of pathogens. Because of intensive use of poplar and willow in bioenergy plantations, more and more research will be needed on diseases. Therefore, we believe that international collaboration in the field of poplar and willow diseases will be needed more than ever, and there will be important with a Working Party with a strong profile on diseases to reach and attract the right stakeholders.

Discussion has been initiated on merging or cooperation between the WP for Diseases and the WP for Insects and Pests and both WP’s agree that we should continue to have separate WP’s, at least for the coming 4 years. The close relations between the topics, however, would benefit from closer cooperation when it comes to exchange of information concerning ongoing projects and active researchers. We also agreed on planning for a joint meeting within two years.

Activity Report for 2004-2008

The activity within the WP has been low during the period, mainly because of low number of people attached. For the Executives it has been a period of reorganization and preoccupation in the business of own departments and research projects. With a new situation to be expected during next year the activities of the WP have all opportunities to develop and be revitalized.

The most notable and successful activity is the close cooperation of the WP for Diseases with the WP Environmental Applications and Production systems (output H). We have agreed to try to have joint meetings or to attend each others WP workshops.  

A joint meeting was arranged in Sweden and Estonia with WP Environmental Applications, Production Systems and Diseases in May 2005 with participants from both WP.

Participants from WP Diseases also took part in the Environmental Applications Working Party meeting in Belfast, 2006 and in Montreal, June 2007, with oral presentations.

Programme for future work 2009-2012

Specific objects during the first two years

Webpage - contacts

During the last year, the Research Institute for Nature and Forest - DGBS in Geraardsbergen, Belgium, has been approached by several private companies all over Europe to get more information and also plant material from our newly selected poplar cultivars. We believe, more and more information will be needed by the poplar industry in the near future. IPC is the best organisation for distributing both scientific and practical information on poplars and willows, including diseases. For this, the webpage for the WP must be updated and made user-friendly and easy to access – to be a portal for information and news concerning diseases. The information includes listing of active researchers in the field, an updated list of publications and ongoing projects.

Meetings - workshops

In the frame of a EU project Treebreedex, in September 2009, the Research Institute for Nature and Forest has also organised a workshop on screening and selection methods within forest tree breeding programmes. One of the topics has been development and demonstration of screening methods for disease resistance. We investigated the possibilities to hold a WP meeting at the same time, in order to give the WP participants the possibility to join the Treebreedex workshop in this important matter.  

The next Executive Committee meeting will be held 2010, in September, when IPS will organize a meeting in Orvieto, Italy. This will be an excellent opportunity for the WP for Diseases to organize a WP workshop in close proximity to get better contact with IPS participants and attract new members. The matter has also been discussed with WP for Pest and Insects to jointly plan this workshop.  

Collaboration activities

Ideas are initiated on a new international collaboration project on Melampsora rust, based on observation of a network of poplar and willow field trials with a well-defined selection of genotypes, spread all over Europe. Contacts have already been taken between the Research Institute for Nature and Forest in Belgium and several East-European countries that might be interested in participation.

Plans in short for the coming four years 

1.   Meeting for the WP during August 2010, possibly together with WP Insects and/or WP6 in  connection with the IPS meeting. Planning during 2009 for a first call before summer.

2.   Meeting /workshop in the frame of the EU-project Treebreedex in September 2009 in Belgium, on development of screening methods for disease resistance. 

3.   Update the membership list of active researchers on Poplar and Willow diseases and add to the Directory of Poplar and Willow Specialists and the IPC website. To be executed before July 2009.

4.   Routinely post an annotated bibliography of Poplar and Willow disease publications and upload these to the IPC website. A first version of publications during the last 4 years to be uploaded before July 2009.

5.   Prepare a database of Poplar and Willow disease projects and their relevant web links.

After p.3-4 are executed a questionnaire can be sent out to all researchers addressed by the topic, asking for ongoing projects in different countries; to be uploaded on the web page. They will also be asked to visit the IPC-WP website for possible additions or changes of the listings in p. 3-4.

6.   Take initiatives to coordinate a common international collaboration project on Melampsora rust. Questionnaire for interest sent out early 2009.

7.   Coordinate the chapter on diseases of the Poplar and Willow book to be finished before March 2009.

8.   Prepare a NEWSROOM, during 2009, with short notes on Poplar and Willow diseases and encourage contributors to add new information and ideas. An informal forum for fast information.

Unscheduled

9.   Create a new network such as Forpath to be accessible through the IPC website.

10. Establish a chat room to consult pathologists on identification and discuss issues related to diseases. Requires people with competence in specific topics that agree to follow this, or somebody responsible for the chat room that will forward the tasks to the person of choice.

Both p.9 and p.10 are ideas partly overlapping each other and p.8.  Further discussion is required to find what to give priority and what the needs are.

11. Strengthen linkages with other Working Parties: Common meetings with WP6, cooperation with WP insects and Pests, meetings in connection to IPS and IUFRO sessions.

 

Report from 22nd Session

During the 22nd Session of the IPC, the Working Party held one technical meeting during which four scientific/technical papers were presented and discussed and several posters of Poplar and Willow disease threats and impacts were displayed and discussed in the poster sessions.

The Working Party aimed to act as a focal point for those seeking information on identifying and managing pathogens on Poplars and Willows. The focus was to disseminate information on diseases and networking with researchers and other users on their management. Specifically close linkages with breeders would be necessary on new pathogens to prepare selection strategies to be adopted in their breeding programmes. Additionally, the Working Party would provide guidance for the import/export of plant genetic material and quarantine.

Achievements from 2000-2004 included:

  • A survey of Poplar and Willow diseases was conducted through pathologists, breeders and users; the most important diseases and host species were reported for the period 2000-2004 and projected for the period 2004-2008;
  • The list of active researchers working on Poplar and Willow diseases was updated.

The results of a SWOT analysis of the current situation included:

StrengthsWeaknesses
  • Pathologists: a strongly recognized group; and
  • Strong knowledge base.
  • Low member activity;
  • Insufficient networking, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere;
  • Small number of Poplar and Willow pathologists; and
  • Low profile of the Working Party.
OpportunitiesThreats
  • Collaboration with IUFRO Division 7 - Rusts of Forest Trees; and
  • Use of list servers to increase the profile of the Working Party.
  • Reduced funding and fewer pathologists working on Poplar and Willow diseases; and
  • Declining participation in NPCs in North America.
Lesson LearnedThe Way Forward
  • The Working Party and IPC Profiles are not sufficiently apparent; and
  • There are advantages of being proactive rather than reactive - prevention through preparedness and prediction.
  • Merging of Working Parties on insects and diseases to form a ¿Protection¿ Working Party;
  • Closer collaboration with other Working Parties in more ¿holistic¿ approaches to management;
  • Better use of list servers (e.g. Forent and Forpath) and web links to raise the profile of IPC; and
  • Posting of recent publications and, annotated bibliographies of the IPC website.

The agreed programme of work 2005-2008 included:
  • Update the membership list of active researchers on Poplar and Willow diseases and add to the Directory of Poplar and Willow Specialists and the IPC website;
  • Prepare a database of Poplar and Willow disease projects and their relevant web links;
  • Create a new network such as Forpath to be accessible through the IPC website;
  • Routinely post an annotated bibliography of Poplar and Willow disease publications and upload these to the IPC website;
  • Establish a chat room to consult pathologists on identification and discuss issues related to diseases;
  • Prepare a summary report of the survey of Poplar and Willow diseases and encourage contributors to add more complete information;
  • Coordinate the chapter on diseases of the Poplar and Willow book; and
  • Strengthen linkages with other Working Parties.

The Working Party on Poplar and Willow Diseases made the following recommendations:

  • Encourage Governments and National Poplar Commissions to recognize that, to manage Poplars and Willows in a more sustainable manner, it will be necessary to allocate more funds and resources to research disease population dynamics and interactions with host species;
  • Raise Government, National Poplar Commissions and other stakeholder awareness about the importance of issues related to import/export of plant genetic materials and quarantine; and
  • Inform Governments and National Poplar Commissions about the increasing requirements for research on disease problems caused by plant-associated bacteria in correlation with specific environmental conditions. 

Reports from prior Sessions

This working party has met regularly since its first meeting in Paris in April 1957, with attendance mainly by pathologists. Each meeting has served to exchange information about the health conditions of poplar and willow plantations in the member countries and about the work done and the results of research. An overview paper describing the activities of the working party since its formation was presented by the chairperson in 1992.

Marsonnina brunnea on poplar leaf (Photo: E.N.C.C.)At each meeting, a subject is proposed to the participants so that discussion can quickly concentrate on a common field. Joint research programmes have been agreed between pathology laboratories where mention may be made of international arrangements for studying the susceptibility of cultivars to Marssonina brunnea and a research programme on sensitivity to Xanthomonas populi.

In carrying out these programmes, pathologists have helped one another, exchanging information, techniques and sometimes their material. They have received visiting researchers who can then familiarize themselves with the methods applied. In this way knowledge of poplar and willow diseases has made rapid strides towards their control.

Apart from summary reports of the meetings, with the texts of the communications presented in an annex providing a wealth of documentation, the working party in 1981 completed a synthesis which was published under the title Les maladies du peuplier (Poplar diseases) by the National Forestry Fund set up in 1946 by France.

The leaf diseases, for example, Marssonina brunnea and, in particular, the rust diseases Melampsora spp. have been a major cause of loss of vigour in poplar plantations in many countries. Because of the high variability of the diseases, work has initially concentrated on their taxonomy. The sensitivity of 78 clones of European origin to Marssonina brunnea has been tested in France. As there was a certain divergence among the findings obtained in a number of countries, the working party has been endeavouring to find satisfactory explanations through international cooperation.

The bark parasite Dothichiza populea, which is also highly variable, has caused increasing concern to affected countries.

The gravity of risk from virus diseases was recently highlighted by the working party. Though damage attributed to air pollution may be caused primarily by physiological stress, a suggestion was made at one of the last meetings of the working party that it should become involved with this topic.

The working party has repeatedly drawn attention to the existence of physiological races of Melampsora larici-populina and M. allii-populina and to the rapid evolution of populations of these races. Although it was acknowledged that progress has been made in understanding the reaction of clones and species of poplar to the diseases, it has been stressed that more attention should be paid to the selection of clones for resistance to both pathogens. A strategy has been described for the breeding of white poplar, involving the selection of families and provenances for tolerance to frost and drought.

Two joint projects were prepared in 1994 with the Working Party on Poplar and Willow Insect Pests. The first aimed to acquire systematic knowledge on the natural resistance mechanisms of poplars and willows towards insects and diseases. The second looked for possible correlations between tree susceptibility and soil characteristics or other ecological factors, in order to determine the risk of damage by insects or diseases to a particular poplar or willow for a given site.

The following recommendations were made in 1996 for future activities:

  • the preparation of a world map of the principal diseases of poplars;
  • the extension of existing collaboration with the European Union in the evaluation of the reaction of existing clones of poplars to the main diseases to other countries and continents and harmonizing the results to make them comparable;
  • the preparation of a detailed study of the diversity of two pathogens Marssonina brunnea and Discoporium populeum.

Once again potential problems arising from the transfer of diseases from one continent to another were identified as being of high importance.

In 1999, a global Review of Fungal Diseases in Poplar was prepared by G. Cellerino.

At its formal meeting during the twenty-first session of IPC the following activities were agreed for the period 2000-2004:

  • Updating the membership list of active researchers in the pathology and entomology of Populus and Salix. It would be maintained on IPC web site and in the IPC Directory of Poplar and Willow Researchers. Researchers in this area will be asked to submit not only their contact information, but also a list of their current projects, and relevant links.
  • The working party will attempt to meet in conjunction with the IUFRO rust group between IPC meetings.
  • Active researchers will be asked to contribute to IPC web pages on 'Methods in the Pathology and Entomology of the Salicaceae' and ' WP News'.
  • Subject areas for focus and discussion at the next IPC meeting should continue to be considered. The following suggestions were made:
    (a) continuation of reports and discussions of microevolution of poplar and willow rust fungi and practical attempts to combat these developments;
    (b) active reconsideration of the common perception that species of Cytospora and Discosporium are always secondary pathogens;
    (c) discussion on the risk of spread of exotic pathogens of the Salicaceae;
    (d) development of early-screening methods for under-researched pathogens such as Discosporium.

Members submitted the following recommendations to the plenary session of the twenty-first session, which were adopted:

 

  • The IPC should encourage member nations to increase funding for research and training of new scientists. The establishment of international fellowships and scholarships would be particularly beneficial.
  • Detailed studies of worldwide pathogen populations, pathogen variation and host range were needed (see the reference to the global study of diseases of poplars, above). To this end, living collections of insects and pathogens of the Salicaceae were required, and since establishment and maintenance of such collections are expensive, possibly funded by the IPC.
  • The IPC should make available on its Web site, the proceedings of IPC meetings and full-text versions of archived, published material that is currently unavailable electronically.

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 Paranthrene tabaniforis (Photo: FAO)  Apriona germari, pupa (photo: FAO)

 

Officers of the Working Party are:

 Report from 23rd Session

 During the 23rd Session, the Working Party held two technical meetings.

 Some insects and other animals pose a demonstrable threat to the world forests, including an increasingly one to both endemic and exotic Poplars and Willows. The Working Party can assist in increasing awareness and reducing the incidence and impacts of invasive insects and other animal pests for Poplar and Willow production and products trade. The aim of the Working Party is to provide international connectivity (networks, websites, publications, lists of experts, etc.) between researchers on, and producers of, Poplars and Willows through National Poplar Commissions, the International Poplar Commission and other relevant institutions (International Poplar Symposium, IUFRO).

 The constraints identified for the Working Party to be more effective, included: 

  • Too many insect problems, too few entomologists;
  • Low participation in activities, dependence on dedicated few;
  • Limited duration of research contracts limits voluntary work;
  • Lack of funding for research in this field; and
  • Shortage of taxonomic expertise.

 The opportunities identified included: 

  • Increased contact with IUFRO entomologists and pest management teams within countries (e.g. China) and regions to extract information of relevance for Poplars and Willows;
  • Broaden entomology contact lists, including through FAO and existing networks;
  • Better use of the IPC Working Party portals to improve communications and outreach; and
  • Identify and integrate common projects within or between Working Parties.

 The programme of action for the next four years included: 

  • Complete the Chapter on Poplar and Willow Insects and Other Animal Pests in the book “Poplars and Willows in the World”;
  • Strengthen the Insects and Other Animal Pests web portal on the IPC website (update list of entomologists and contact details, publications, main research areas, etc.); and
  • Conduct a joint meeting with the Working Party on Poplar and Willow Diseases, to coincide with the IUFRO International Poplar Symposium, Orvieto, Italy, September 2010.

 

Report from 22nd Session

During the 22nd Session of the IPC, the Working Party held two technical meetings during which eight scientific/technical papers on a range of insect pest threats and impacts were presented and discussed and several posters on these topics displayed and discussed in the poster sessions.

The Working Party provided international connectivity between Poplar and Willow researchers and producers because:

  • Insects and pest posed a demonstrable threat to Poplar and Willow culture;
  • Invasive insects posed an increasing threat to both endemic and exotic Poplars and Willows; and
  • Insects and pest posed a threat to production and trade in forest products

Achievements from 2000-2004 included:

  • Web version of the insect e-book on Insect Pests of Poplar (French version) completed and uploaded to the IPC website;
  • Final draft of 'The Damaging Insects of Poplars' (English version) completed;
  • Registration of the Working Party with ECOPORT (FAO) for insects of Poplars;
  • Survey of Salix pests conducted through entomologists and National Poplar Commissions; and
  • Networking between researchers and producers.

The results of a SWOT analysis of the current situation included:

StrengthsWeaknesses
  • Readily identified mission; and
  • Strongly recognized group.
  • Too many insect species, too few entomologists; and
  • Limited duration of research contracts.
OpportunitiesThreats
  • Increased collaboration with IUFRO entomologists and pest management teams;
  • Nominate a Working Party member to report annually on key pests for the year;
  • Maximize use of the ECOPORT (FAO) portal;
  • Bi-annual 'newsletter' of activities of the working party.
  • Lack of research funding; and
  • Shortage of taxonomic expertise.
Lesson LearnedThe Way Forward
  • Need for collaboration with entomologists around the world.
  • Improve networks and communication; and
  • Identify and integrate common projects (within and between working parties).

 

The agreed programme of work 2005-2008 included:
  • Coordinate and prepare an Insect Pest chapter for the new Poplar and Willow book project, by December 2006 - Responsibility of Sylvie Augustin and John Charles, together with contributing authors;
  • Strengthen the Insect Pest Working Party portal on the IPC website, on-going - Responsibility of Sylvie Augustin and John Charles;
  • Complete the [-] and upload to the IPC website, by December 2005 - Responsibility of Sylvie Augustin and John Charles, in collaboration with FAO web master;
  • Update the address book and research area details of Poplar and Willow entomologists around the world, by December 2006 - Responsibility of Sylvie Augustin and John Charles;
  • Prepare a bi-annual 'newsletter' of research activities and insect news on Poplars and Willows from around the world, by December, 2005 - Responsibility of Sylvie Augustin and John Charles, in collaboration with Poplar and Willow entomologists around the world;
  • Prepare annual 'country' reports of key Poplar and Willow insect pests, by December 2005 - Responsibility of Jan Volney; and
  • Upload all outputs to the Working Party portal on the IPC website.

The Working Party on Poplar and Willow Insect Pests made the following recommendations:

  • Recognize that invasive insects and pests are posing an increasing threat to both endemic and exotic Poplar and Willow species;
  • Connect international researchers and producers through networks to monitor and contain the impacts of insects and pests on production and trade of Poplar and Willow forest products; and
  • Identify priority problems and collaborative approaches to address them through multi-disciplinary approaches across different Working Parties.

Reports from prior Sessions

This working party was created in 1957 after a number of Belgian, Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish entomologists met in Paris. They pointed out the potentially harmful significance of insects, mainly xylophagous, to the development of modern poplar and willow cultivation and suggested that IPC set up a working party on pests, along the lines of the Working Party on Poplar and Willow Diseases. Since its establishment, the working party has met in the same spirit and with the same goals as those of the working party on diseases. It has not confined its work to insects but to other animal pests as well.

The amalgamation of the two working parties on insects and diseases has been discussed, most recently in 2000, but was not accepted by the members of the former. It was felt that the scientific disciplines of entomology and plant pathology were sufficiently different to justify the separate existence of the two working parties. However, all participants agreed that close collaboration between the two working parties, and with the Working Party on Willow Genetics, Conservation and Improvement, was valuable and should continue. Joint sessions of working parties were seen to be a good way of showing how collaboration worked in practice.

Cryptorhynchus lapathi, adult (Photo: FAO)Saperda carcharias (Photo: E.N.C.C.)Except for the presence of a new pest recorded from France (Anisandrus dispar) and the problems arising from associations between poplars and agricultural crops, there has been no serious attack by new insect pests for several years. In Europe, the most harmful insects continue to be primarily borers such as Cryptorrynchus lapathi, Saperda carcharias, and Paranthrene tabaniformis. In Argentina, considerable damage is being attributed to the defoliating insects Nematus desantisi and Hylesia nigricans, a sucker (Pterocomma populea), and a borer (Platypus sulcatus); rodent damage to young plantations has also been reported.

Anoplophora glabripennis (Photo: FAO)Three polyphagous borers: the Asian long-horned beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis (imported from USA), Apriona germari and Batocera horsfieldi, and two oligophagous: Saperda populnea and Cryptorhynchus lapathi are responsible for important poplar mortality in different provinces of China. Defoliators such as the Lepidoptera - Clostera anachoreta, Apocheima cinerarius and Lymantria - a re also important pests hosted by poplar species in China.

The working party has foreseen that the trend in phytosanitary protection of poplars and willows will be noticeable for the increased use of biological control methods (for instance, preparations based on Bacillus thuringiensis have been increasingly used for the control of Lepidoptera, and the control of Cryptorrynchus lapathi by nematodes), the breeding of pest resistant clones, and the increased use of environmentally less harmful insecticides (such as those containing diflubenzuron).

Anoplophora glabripennis, pupa (Photo: FAO)Whether the enlargement of the genetic base of the planting material and the reduction of the risk factor could be better achieved by planting clones in mixtures or through a mosaic of monoclonal plantations has been debated by the working party, which has also drawn attention to the need to increase basic research on resistance of the Salicaceae to pest damage. It has recommended that interdisciplinary work aimed at genetic improvement should be increased as well.

The choice of clones to be planted in a given environment has to be based not only on short-term economic considerations of fast growth but also on the need to satisfy other requirements, such as the maintenance of genetic diversity. By so doing, better protection will be offered against biotic or abiotic risks and better adaptation to local variability of the site.

Recommendations for the following future activities were adopted in 1996:

  • the improvement of methods of pest control in order to reduce threats to humans and natural ecosystems;
  • increased emphasis on methods for the prevention of the accidental introduction of new pests through germplasm exchange;
  • the harmonization of methodologies for research into genetic resistance to poplar pests in order to make results comparable between countries;
  • the encouragement of young scientists through a system of fellowships.

Notable achievements of the working party include:

  • the matching of species/clones with appropriate sites and the increasing use of resistant or tolerant clones has been recommended to reduce treatment with chemicals;
  • establishment of rules on the exchange of germplasm in an effort to prevent the introduction of new pests;
  • improved harmonization of methodologies between France and Italy through a European Community project initiated in 1993 to research poplar resistance and develop biochemical markers to monitor different insect pests;
  • harmonization of methodologies has been derived between France and China since 1997 to encourage collaboration among geneticists, biochemists and entomologists in the investigation of the genetic basis of resistance to poplar insects;
  • support to education of young scientists by the European Community and other donors.

An overview of internationally important insect pest of poplars was prepared in 1999 by L. Nef. It was based on the results of an enquiry conducted among member countries in 1993. The document is at present (February 2002) being expanded to cover insect pests of both poplars and willows and will be published in both electronic format and hard copy. It will be illustrated by photographs of major insect pests to aid recognition and will include control recommendations, including advice on the safe use of pesticides. Provision will be made for periodic updating by members of the working party.

Members submitted the following recommendations to the plenary session of the twenty-first session, which were adopted:

  • The recommendations made at the twentieth session in Budapest were re-affirmed which dealt with the improvement of methodology for pest control, the safe exchange of germplasm among countries, and the exchange of experiences among scientists.
  • The need was stressed for continued collaboration and cooperation among members of the working party and other entomologists working on poplar and willow insects, and the promotion of all aspects of the study of insects living in poplar and willow environments.
  • Research should continue to focus on all aspects of insect pests of poplars and willows, including breeding for pest resistance. It will also include the appropriate research interests in broader areas of the environmental and conservation, and international 'biosecurity'.
  • At future IPC meetings, joint sessions between the insects and diseases working parties and the breeding working party should continue to be held where appropriate. More time should be allowed for scientific presentations.
  • Activities for the next four years should include updating the electronic publication on the damaging insects of poplars (see above) to include international data; expansion of the publication to include Salix insects; and the establishment of a page on poplar and willow insects on the IPC Web site.

 

last updated:  Monday, October 3, 2016