Patterns and management of crop multiple pathosystems

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The study of multiple pathosystems has played a central role in the development of botanical epidemiology, leading to a number of approaches and concepts. Multiple pathosystems are facts, which are experienced by many non-cultivated, or cultivated, plant communities. The shapes and composition of multiple pathosystems vary in space and time because of their inherent structure of relationships, and also in response to management. Examples of variation in multiple pathosystems are given, of groundnut in Côte d'Ivoire, of wheat in Brittany, and of upland rice in northern Laos. Variation in the yield-reducing effects of multiple pathosystems is discussed, including interactions among disease elements, relationships with attainable performances, and linkages with production situations. Progress has been achieved in understanding the links between injury profiles, production situations, and attainable performances. Questions about the functioning and consequences of multiple pathosystems are central to defining the scientific bases for, the design of, and the implementing of IPM. The complexity of multiple pathosystems, however, remains a deterrent, not a challenge, to many plant pathologists. Progress achieved in designing production systems for hardy wheat in France, however, is very promising, because of the multidisciplinary science it involves, and because of the promise to deliver it carries. The concepts of epidemiological guilds and of guilds of harmful agents are offered as perspectives to address and manage syndromes of production and syndromes of disease.

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