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Impact of invasive Phytophthora species on wildland plant communities in western Australia and society responses to their management.

Hardy, G., Burgess, T., Crone, M., Paap, T. and Dunstan, W. (2014) Impact of invasive Phytophthora species on wildland plant communities in western Australia and society responses to their management. In: Sustaining Forests, Sustaining People: The Role of Research XXIV IUFRO World Congress, 5 - 11 October, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Abstract

Introduced Phytophthora pathogens in the southwest of western Australia are having a devastating impact on native plant communities. More than 41% of the 5,710 described plant species are susceptible to P. cinnamomi with P. multivora, P. elongate, and P. constricta and a number of other newly described Phytophthora spp. having similar and extended host ranges. Research is emphasizing understanding the biology and pathology of these pathogens and understanding their potential impact in a changing climate. Recently, P. cinnamomi was shown to survive asymptomatically as an endophyte or biotroph in annual and herbaceous perennials, allowing it to survive indefinitely in infested areas. Due to widespread society concern about the loss of plant species and communities and subsequent impacts on ecosystem function and health, there is significant and active society engagement with regards to management, friends groups, accurate disease mapping, prioritization of areas protectable for 50–100 years, phosphite applications and in the case of industry, attempts at eradication. We will highlight new findings with regards to the biology of these Phytophthora spp. and discuss types of community engagement on-the-ground and at the policy level aimed to stop further spread and impact of these Phytophthora pathogens into pristine but susceptible plant communities.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/33393
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