7.02.10 - Pine wilt disease
The focus of our Working Party is a single forest disease, pine wilt disease (PWD), which is a unique feature of the Unit. The Working Party serves as an information exchange to advance understanding of PWD as an insect-borne infectious challenge to pine trees and pine ecosystems and to advance control strategies and tactics. Membership includes scientists from fields such as entomology, nematology, pathology, genetics and tree physiology, as well as government officials involved with regulatory and control aspects of the disease. The Working Party aims to facilitate an international exchange of information on the all aspects of PWD.
Meetings are held every 3-4 years with the site alternating between Europe and Asia. Satellite meetings are held, as needed, on an irregular basis.
Early studies on pine wilt were conducted in Japan as it was the first county to suffer epidemic losses of forest trees. In the 1980s the origin of the pinewood nematode was determined to be North America and studies of the nematode, its pathogenicity and its insect vectors were undertaken also in the U.S. and Canada. Basic information on the biology of the nematode and its insect vectors has been summarized in a number of review articles and books.
The range of the PWN has been extended through international trade and was identified in other Asian countries in the 1980s. Its range expanded to Europe (Portugal) in 1999. Different host tree species, insect vectors and environmental conditions in the newly introduced area required a new series of investigations. In addition, advances in taxonomy of Bursaphelenchus nematodes drove studies in related fields. Control measures of PWD, including biological agents and newly devised attractants for the vectors, have been a main subject of the discussion. Detection and interception of the nematode in relation to international plant protection is a current topic of importance.