Can the emergence of pineDiplodiashoot blight in France be explained by changes in pathogen pressure linked to climate change?

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Sphaeropsis shoot blight, caused by Diplodia pinea and Diplodia scrobiculata, damage conifers throughout the world. In France, the first disease outbreaks were reported during the 1990s. The factors associated with the pathogen presence in stands and the relationship between pathogen and disease distributions were analysed in order to understand the Sphaeropsis emergence. Eighty-two stands of Pinus nigra, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus pinaster and Pinus radiata were visited. Cones were collected on the ground to assess the pathogen frequency. Diplodia spp were isolated and determined by a species-specific PCR test. The role of potential explaining factors of D. pinea prevalence on cones was analysed by logistic regression. D. pinea was the dominant species in visited stands. The main factors influencing the pathogen presence selected in the models were host species (the pathogen being less frequent on P. pinaster than on P. nigra and P. sylvestris cones), winter temperature and summer rain, which were both positively correlated with cone colonization. The climate became more favourable to D. pinea presence within the last 15 years compared with the previous 30-year period. By contrast, future climatic changes over the next 40 years should have far less impact on the pathogen presence.

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