Although biosecurity risks are highly complex and may be difficult to predict precisely for a specific forest, the following highlights a practical method to identity potential biosecurity risks as a result from climate change.
A decision making pathway for minimising Biosecurity risk
1. How is your forest health affected by climate?
Forest health is large determinant of resistance to many biosecurity threats. The healthier a forest is the better it is able to repel any infections or infestations. To determine how your forest health is being affected by climate conditions follow step 1 and 2 on the Productivity page.
2. What are the significant biosecurity risks?
Forests managers need to maintain an awareness of the current and potential biosecurity risks in the area. These may change over time in response to the climate, which can directly impact on the lifecycles of pests and diseases, and their ability to infect or infest a forest.
Although there has been modelling work carried out to determine the impact that a change in climate may have on pests/diseases, there are still many knowledge gaps, making it difficult to pre-empt any increases to the current risk.
However, research has produced some indications for key species in Victoria:
- All fungus species (above & below ground) may be negatively impacted by climate change, as a dryer environment will reduce their ability to complete their lifecycle and transmit location.
- Monterey Pine Aphid (Essigella californica) and Sirex Wood Wasp (Sirex Noctilio) will be unaffected.
- Five-spined bark beetle (Ips grandicolis) may increase its spread and survival
- Autumn gum moth (Mnesampela private) will remain unaffected by a change in climate
Each of these impact estimates are based on models only, some may not eventuate for decades and some pest species may not be affected until long after the host tree is unable to grow in the prevailing climate conditions. As a result, the below adaptation recommendations mainly involve maximising healthy tree growth and reporting any new pest/disease to the Department of Primary Industries for identification. Updates on pests and diseases can be gained from the Biosecurity pages.
- Learn about the likely pest and disease risks for the location and species and choose species with a low vulnerability.
- Establishing a species that will maintain healthy growth at the given location and climate will maximise the trees natural defence abilities
- Regular surveillance is crucial to identify any pest or disease infestations.
- Maintain a current knowledge on local and exotic pest and disease activity.
- If a significant infestation or infection is observed, take samples and report to the Department of Primary Industries.