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Management measures to control pine wood nematode spread in Europe

Abstract: 

1. Invasive pests, such as the pine wood nematode (PWN), threaten European forests. In De la Fuente, Saura, and Beck, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2018, 55, 2374, we modelled the natural spread of the PWN by the longhorn beetle (Monochamus galloprovincialis) on the Iberian Peninsula. We used the model to evaluate the effectiveness of several management measures to control the PWN spread: early detection and removal of infected trees, beetle mass trapping and clear‐cut belts. We simulated these particular measures because they have been or are being applied in PWN containment efforts on the Iberian Peninsula. 2. Martínez‐Abraín and Jiménez, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2019, suggested that two other management measures would be appropriate to halt the PWN expansion: installing nest boxes for insectivorous birds in order to increase predation on vector beetles and increasing the populations of large mammalian herbivores to lower forest tree density. 3. The results of De la Fuente, Saura, and Beck, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2018, 55, 2374 showed that a combination of measures is more likely to control PWN spread than any single one in isolation, indicating that halting this, and many other invasive species, requires a comprehensive approach. 4. Here, we review current evidence on the efficacy of the measures proposed by Martínez‐Abraín and Jiménez, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2019, as PWN management tools. This evidence suggests that, by themselves, these measures are unlikely to significantly slow down, let alone halt, the PWN spread on the Iberian Peninsula. Furthermore, we indicate how the model presented in De la Fuente, Saura, and Beck, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2018, 55, 2374 lends itself to assessing this quantitatively in future research. 5. Synthesis and applications. Lost biotic interactions in ecosystems can make them more vulnerable to invasions, and restoring interactions can in turn increase resilience. Ecosystem restoration can thus, in theory, also benefit invasive species management. Current evidence indicates however that managing natural species interactions, such as beetle predation from insectivorous birds or herbivory by large mammals, would need to be applied in combination with other measures if they are to halt or significantly slow down the expansion of the PWN in Europe.