Canadian Forest Service Publications

Climate change and plant diseases in Ontario. 2004. Boland, G.J.; Melzer, M.S.; Hopkin, A.A.; Higgins, V.; Nassuth, A. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology 26: 335-350.

Year: 2004

Available from: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 25150

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)


Current models predict that expected climate change in Ontario will significantly affect the occurrence of plant diseases in agriculture and forestry in the coming years. Direct, multiple effects on the epidemiology of plant diseases are expected, including the survival of primary inoculum, the rate of disease progress during a growing season, and the duration of epidemics. These effects will positively or negatively influence individual pathogens and the diseases they cause. Changes in the spectra of diseases are also anticipated. Abiotic diseases associated with environmental extremes are expected to increase, and interactions between biotic and abiotic diseases might represent the most important effects of climate change on plant diseases. The management of plant diseases will also be affected. In agriculture, plant breeding programs are expected to adapt many crops to increased duration of growing seasons and, concurrently, to develop drought and stress tolerance. There will be opportunities for new crops and cultivars to be introduced, but effective systems must be in place to detect new pathogens and prevent them from entering with these new crops. Because of the long-lived nature of trees, forests are slow to adapt, and the impact of climate change will have to be considered in forest management plans. Adaptations in agriculture and forestry have been occurring in Ontario for over 100 years, but these may need to occur at an accelerated rate because of rapid changes in climate. It is critical that the infrastructure of agricultural and forestry research remains strong to ensure successful transition and adaptation.

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