As ash dieback disease continues to threaten common ash trees across Europe, new research in the Journal of Quaternary Science explores the historic impact of forest diseases to discover if diseases played a significant factor in vegetation change.
The study explores how large-scale pathogen outbreaks were much more infrequent in the past, which suggests the human role in transporting pathogens to new locations, such as the international seed trade, is a major factor.
"The temperate and boreal forests of Europe and North America have been subject to repeated pathogen outbreaks over the last 100 years," said Martyn Waller from Kingston University.
"Palaeoecology can, potentially, offer a long-term perspective on such disturbance episodes, providing information on their triggers, frequency and impact."
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