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Spatial patterns and environmental factors affecting the presence of Melampsorella caryophyllacearum infections in an Abies alba forest in NE Spain

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The presence of trunk swellings caused by the rust fungus Melampsorella caryophyllacearum was systematically surveyed in an Abies alba forest (Irati, NE Spain), using 1237 circular plots (diameter = 18 m). The relationship between fungal presence and several abiotic (aspect, elevation, distance to the nearest river and slope) and biotic factors (basal area of A. alba and/or Fagus sylvatica, shrub, fern and herb cover) was assessed through correlation and ordination analyses. Additionally, the spatial pattern of the presence of diseased trees was described using Ripley's K function. Southern-aspect plots had a significantly lower presence of diseased trees than plots-oriented north, east and west. Plots with diseased trees were located at a significantly lower elevation, and at a shorter distance to the river than plots without infections. Plots with diseased trees had almost twice the average A. alba basal area, and less average F. sylvatica basal area than plots without diseased trees. However, similar mean values of slope and shrub, fern and herb cover were found in both types of plots. The disease showed spatial aggregation in patches with a mean radius of ca. 900 m. The implications of the results for disease management are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Biología y Producción de los Vegetales, Ingeniería Técnica Forestal, Universidad de Extremadura, Avenida Virgen del Puerto 2, 10600 Plasencia, Spain., Email: [email protected] 2: Unidad de Recursos Forestales, Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria, Gobierno de Aragón, Zaragoza, Spain

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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