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Consequences of plant disease introductions: from crop loss mitigation to environmental impact

Michael Jeger: Imperial College London

<div>Introductions of plant pathogens to new regions, countries and continents have a range of consequences, especially where disease outbreaks have the potential to develop into major epidemics in time and space. The consequences are multidimensional, even without taking into account socio-economic and cultural considerations. The consequences include: crop losses in terms of yield, quality, and production area; the need for additional control measures, including long-term increases in the use of plant protection products; impact on amenity trees, woodlands and forested areas; environmental and other undesired impacts of control measures; and impacts on native plants, biodiversity and ecosystem services. New quantitative methods are being developed to assess the risks of introduction (entry and establishment) and subsequent spread of invasive plant pathogens in the European Union. The most problematic area and challenge is to assess quantitatively the consequences of introduction and spread of a plant pathogen, especially where there are crop loss, cropping area and environmental impacts to be considered. The challenges faced in assessing these impacts will be illustrated for the following examples: <em>Diaporthe vaccinii</em>, <em>Cryphonectria parasitica</em>, <em>Ditylenchus destructor</em>, and the ‘Flavescence doree’ phytoplasma. These examples cover the range of plant pathogen taxa, host types, and the relative importance attached the dimensions of impact considered.</div>