Assessment of climate change and impacts of Armillaria root disease (Armillaria spp.) In Alberta’s boreal forest
Lowther, Lisa D.
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There are many health issues surrounding Alberta’s forests today and for the future. Health impacts of diseases, pests and climate change are currently being predicted in order to implement new management ideas and solutions, and identify specific research needs. This study examines state of the art knowledge on the current impacts of Armillaria root disease (ARD) (Armillaria spp.) in Alberta’s boreal forest region. It also assesses the biology and structure of the disease within this region to predict the extent to which the boreal forest may be impacted. In the next 50 years, both Armillaria ostoyae (Romag.) Herink and Armillaria sinapina Bérubé & Dessureault will become more of a problem, due to climate change and the current mature state of Alberta’s forests. A. sinapina, as a less-pathogenic but more opportunistic species, is predicted to be more prevalent that A. ostoyae, since the former will flourish when there are environmental stresses. Management practices will require research and evaluation of the use of alternative native tree species that have a higher resistance to the Armillaria species within Alberta and the impacts of such alternatives to the forestry industry and community structure. Future research is also essential to determine if one promising biological control agent and fungus, Hypholoma fasciculare (Huds. ex. Fr.), will be a viable and cost effective method to control Armillaria species within Alberta.
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