Forests (Nov 2021)

The Threat of Pests and Pathogens and the Potential for Biological Control in Forest Ecosystems

  • Amel Balla,
  • Allaoua Silini,
  • Hafsa Cherif-Silini,
  • Ali Chenari Bouket,
  • Warren Keith Moser,
  • Justyna Anna Nowakowska,
  • Tomasz Oszako,
  • Farida Benia,
  • Lassaad Belbahri

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 11
p. 1579


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Forests are an essential component of the natural environment, as they support biodiversity, sequester carbon, and play a crucial role in biogeochemical cycles—in addition to producing organic matter that is necessary for the function of terrestrial organisms. Forests today are subject to threats ranging from natural occurrences, such as lightning-ignited fires, storms, and some forms of pollution, to those caused by human beings, such as land-use conversion (deforestation or intensive agriculture). In recent years, threats from pests and pathogens, particularly non-native species, have intensified in forests. The damage, decline, and mortality caused by insects, fungi, pathogens, and combinations of pests can lead to sizable ecological, economic, and social losses. To combat forest pests and pathogens, biocontrol may be an effective alternative to chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This review of forest pests and potential adversaries in the natural world highlights microbial inoculants, as well as research efforts to further develop biological control agents against forest pests and pathogens. Recent studies have shown promising results for the application of microbial inoculants as preventive measures. Other studies suggest that these species have potential as fertilizers.