A new way to reduce the introduction of exotic pests and diseases in trees into the UK

New research highlights the need for policies that encourage nurseries to produce home-grown plants and thus reduce the risk of importing tree pests and diseases that threaten the UK’s woodland. Author of Variability in commercial demand for tree saplings affects the probability of introducing exotic forest diseases, Vasthi Alonso Chavez and British Ecological Society Policy Manager, Brendan Costelloe explain more. A Spanish version of this … Continue reading A new way to reduce the introduction of exotic pests and diseases in trees into the UK

How to manage city trees in a changing climate?

Without sufficient water, urban trees are susceptible to other stressors, including insect pests. Associate Editor, Pieter De Frenne (Ghent University, Belgium) explains how Meineke and Frank’s recent paper, Water availability drives urban tree growth responses to herbivory and warming, provides key research into the management of a vital ecosystem service. Cities are hot. Not only to taste the best latte macchiato in the fanciest coffee … Continue reading How to manage city trees in a changing climate?

Warming, insect pests and water stress combine to reduce tree growth in the city

Emily Meineke comments on new research, Water availability drives urban tree growth responses to herbivory and warming  published today in Journal of Applied Ecology. Cities are getting warmer. This is due in part to global climate change. The more important factor for now, though, is the urban heat island effect; local warming in cities caused by sidewalks, asphalt, and reduced tree cover. In short, areas with less … Continue reading Warming, insect pests and water stress combine to reduce tree growth in the city

PODCAST: Forest restoration as a double-edged sword

In this podcast Simon Kärvemo discusses his paper ‘Forest restoration as a double-edged sword: the conflict between biodiversity conservation and pest control’ published today in Journal of Applied Ecology. Forest fires create open patches and dead wood – both factors that favour biodiversity, but using fire as a restoration tool is both risky and requires a lot of work and planning. What if we could … Continue reading PODCAST: Forest restoration as a double-edged sword

Climate change and food security

In this post, Adam Frew discusses his paper ‘Increased root herbivory under elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is reversed by silicon-based plant defences‘ As the global climate changes the global population continues to rise, we are faced with the daunting challenge of achieving sustainable crop production to meet the increasing demand for food. Professor John Beddington in 2009, UK chief scientist at the time, highlighted … Continue reading Climate change and food security

Fatal attraction of Spotted Wing Drosophila to a yeast symbiont, for sustainable control

In this blog post Joelle Lemmen, Alix Whitener, Boyd Mori and Peter Witzgall discuss the recent paper by Boyd Mori and colleagues ‘Enhanced yeast feeding following mating facilitates control of the invasive fruit pest Drosophila suzukii‘ Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is currently the most economically important insect in Europe and North America. SWD damages a wide range of our favourite berries and soft fruit, including … Continue reading Fatal attraction of Spotted Wing Drosophila to a yeast symbiont, for sustainable control

Bark beetle impacts on ecosystems and society

In this post Jesse Morris discusses his research, published today in Journal of Applied Ecology ‘Managing bark beetle impacts on ecosystems and society: priority questions to motivate future research‘ Forests provide many goods and services that have ecological, economic, and social value. Management agencies and scientists often refer to these benefits as ecosystem services. Some examples of ecosystem services include purifying air, controlling water runoff … Continue reading Bark beetle impacts on ecosystems and society

Avian pest control in vineyards

In this post Michelle Harrison and Cristina Banks-Leite discuss a recent paper by Luc Barbaro and colleagues ‘Avian pest control in vineyards is driven by interactions between bird functional diversity and landscape heterogeneity‘. The global wine industry currently contributes roughly US$303 billion to the world’s economy (Plant and Food Research, 2013). Wine is a key export for many European countries such as Italy, France and … Continue reading Avian pest control in vineyards

Adapting to realistic constraints of eradications: an ‘action-portfolio’ framework that improves ecological benefit and reduces cost

This post by Melissa Wynn, discusses the recent paper by Kate Helmstedt, Justine Shaw, Michael Bode, Aleks Terauds, Keith Springer, Susan Robinson and Hugh Possingham ‘Prioritizing eradication actions on islands: it’s not all or nothing‘ Melissa is a PhD Candidate in the Fenner School of Environment and Society, at the Australian National University, (Twitter: @melissalwynn) One of the greatest threats facing Australia’s unique fauna today … Continue reading Adapting to realistic constraints of eradications: an ‘action-portfolio’ framework that improves ecological benefit and reduces cost

The ecology behind mosquito–Wolbachia interactions: implications for a novel strategy for biocontrol of arboviruses

In this post Penelope Hancock discusses her paper ‘Density-dependent population dynamics in Aedes aegypti slow the spread of wMel Wolbachia‘ published in Issue 53:3 today. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the primary vector of dengue and zika, are the current target of a novel biocontrol strategy involving Wolbachia bacteria. Mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia are less able to transmit viruses to humans. Releases of Wolbachia bacteria into field … Continue reading The ecology behind mosquito–Wolbachia interactions: implications for a novel strategy for biocontrol of arboviruses