CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/ 15_003/0000453

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Biological control of emerging forest diseases: How can we move from dreams to reality?

Prospero, S., Botella, L., Santini, A., Robin, C 


Biological control (BC) is defined as the use of living natural enemies, antagonists, or competitors (biological control agents) to control other living organisms. In the second half of the last century, the general interest in BC has increased considerably because greater environmental awareness in society and the implementation of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies have pushed towards the development of environmentally friendly control approaches. However, BC is still only rarely used for pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and phytoplasmas) of forest trees. Here, we present and discuss the biological specificities of both the hosts and the fungal pathogens which may account for this situation. To increase the likelihood of BC success, we suggest a holistic approach involving the use of top-down regulators, competitors and amensalists, all exerting pressure on the pathogen, as well as bottom-up forces helping the host (e.g., endophytes, mycorrhiza). Moreover, BC to mitigate emerging forest diseases should be fully integrated into other sustainable management strategies. Finally, we propose guidelines for developing an efficient BC of emerging fungal pathogens of forest trees

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