FORTHREATS is the European network on emerging diseases and invasive species threats to European forest ecosystems.
We have formed a network of expertise, with the aim of producing an overview of the threat situation caused by alien species and emerging pathogens in European forests. Forests in Europe are of large economical and ecological value. But newly emerging diseases impose serious threats to forest ecosystems.
The threats arise from disease-causing organisms that are transferred between different regions in Europe, or introduced from other parts of the world. In addition, new diseases might develop as an effect of shifts in host range or host preference in the pathogens. Climatic changes can also cause new diseases to emerge.
The project includes the following assignments:
The network is, as such, one of the major aims of the project. It consists of twenty-three partners from old and new European Union member states. Researchers from other parts of the world are involved as external experts and we also have contacts with other organisations and authorities. The network will be of great future value in order to counteract the identified threats.
Identification and listing of potential threats
We are compiling the existing knowledge about organisms that might pose threats to the forest ecosystems in our respective countries. We identify diseases caused by fungi, oomycets, bacteria, viruses or nematodes that have previously not been present in the systems, or that recently have started to expand in range or virulence. The results of the surveys will be discussed at partner meetings and the outcome will be a list in which the threat situation is described.
Origins and movements of pathogens
We are identifying and listing the likely origins of the species that are identified as potential threats. The putative modes by which the species have moved to or within Europe are characterised and will be included in the list.
Analyses of the effect of geography and climate
The major threats are being analysed as to whether they are affected by geographical location or climatic regions. We are also rating the degree of risk posed by the different threats.
Prevention and control of diseases
We are evaluating if the introduction of pathogens can be prevented, and how disease outbreaks can be controlled or contained. We are specifically investigating environmentally compatible control measures. The project will also provide suggestions for good practises and standards for the detection and monitoring of pathogens and disease outbreaks. In addition, we will indicate areas in need of attention for legislation.
Alberto Santini, Instituto per la Protezione delle Piante – Consiglio
Nazionale delle Ricercje, Italy.
Andrea Vannini, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Italy.
Steve Woodward, The University Court of the University of Aberdeen, United
Thomas Kiristi, Univeristät für Bodenkultur Wien, Austria.
Libor Jankovsky, Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, Czech
Jarkko Hantula, Finnish Forest Research Institute, Finland.
Benoit Marcais, institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
Jörg Schumacher, Federal Biological research Centre for Agriculture and
Forestry, Institute for
Plant Protection in Forests Braunschweig, Germany.
Panos Tsopelas, National Agrucultural Reaserch Foundation, Greece.
Ilona Szabo, University of West Hungary, Hungary.
Talis Gainieks, Latvian Forestry Research Institue ”Silava”, Latvia.
Vaidotas Lygis, Institute of Botany, Lithuania.
Halvor Solheim, Norvegian Forest Research Institute, Norway.
Tomasz Oszako, Polish Forest research Institute, Poland.
Danut Chira, Institutul de Cercetari si Amenajari Silvice, Romania.
Andrej Kunca, National Forest Centre, Slovakia.
Dusan Jurc, Slovenian Forestry Institute, Slovenia.
Alejandro Solla, Universidad de Extremadura, Spain.
Ottmar Holdenrieder, Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland.
Hugh Evans, Forestry Commission Research Agency, United Kingdom.
Andrew Terry, IUCN Regional Office for Europe AISBL.
Jean-Claude Grégoire, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium