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Factsheet: Climate change and tree diseases (canker)

Lead Author: Carolyn Riddell

Home publication Factsheet: Climate change and tree diseases (canker)

How will canker pathogens be influenced by climate change?

Canker-inducing pathogens kill the inner, living bark of trees resulting in poorer growth or mortality of affected individuals which limits their contribution to climate change mitigation.

A changing climate is predicted to influence the impact of canker pathogens in several ways. The growth or spore release of many of these damaging agents may be enhanced and their hosts may become more vulnerable to infection due to physiological stress, especially drought. Milder winters may also increase the overwintering success of certain canker pathogens and extend their active periods, providing more opportunities for successive years of damage to trees. Damage by latent pathogens is also likely to become more common as their hosts suffer from more frequent and severe drought stress.

Finally, climate change may affect tree health indirectly by altering the soil and tree microbiome, but the likely impact of such changes on canker diseases is not yet clear. Canker diseases are common on both broadleaves and conifers but the degree of damage which they typically cause varies.

About the series

Aimed at practitioners, the factsheets showcase the breadth of research carried out by Forest Research, sometimes over decades, into how trees and forests are facing the challenges of climate change, and actionable insights into how trees and woodlands can help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Published
2022
Publication type
Climate change series
Publication owner
Forest Research