Project overview

PROJECT EMP162, DNA-based early detection and diagnostics of alien invasive forest pathogens and tracing of their introduction pathways into northern Europe

Forests in the Baltic and Nordic countries are increasingly challenged by new pathogens. Invasive alien species (IAS) are recognized as one of the largest threats to world’s biodiversity and the annual economic costs due to IAS within Europe alone have been estimated as 12 billion euros.

This project main objectives are I) establish the introduction pathways of invasive tree pathogens to Estonia and Norway, II) explore the impact of the pathogens on microbial biodiversity associated with pine and ash foliage, and III) develop/implement DNA-based molecular assays for detection of invasive pathogens.

The main challenge of the project will be to reduce the risk to economy and natural biodiversity through the DNA-based early diagnostic methods of forest and plant pathology.

Once an introduced species has established in an area, it is very difficult to eliminate. Therefore measures to prevent the introduction of invasive pathogens are crucial for successful control as rapid detection of pathogen presence enables us to elaborate operative and timely control and disinfection treatments.