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Dutch elm disease has currently a low incidence on wych elm in Norway

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A rapid increase in the frequency of Dutch elm disease (DED), a wilting disease of elm trees caused by bark-beetle vectored fungi, was observed in the early 1990s on several wych elm stands around Oslofjord, southern Norway. To examine the current status of the disease and its impacts on elm population, disease frequency and size distribution of elms were recorded at four locations. Northern parts of Lier, a municipality most affected by DED in Norway 15 years ago, showed in the survey season 4% disease frequency, whereas 13.8% of trees were dead, the dead trees having accumulated over several years in the unmanaged stands. In southern parts of the municipality the mean disease and death percentages were 1.9 and 2.4%. Compatible with their low disease incidence in early 1990s, the other two areas now examined, municipality of Larvik and district of Grenland, showed comparably low frequency of DED. Northern part of Lier showed significantly higher overall density of elm trees per hectare than the other examined areas, and also the small elms below 5 cm in d.b.h. were most frequent in this region. In contrast, the density of large trees was lower in northern Lier than in the other examined areas. These data suggest that regeneration of the tree is not prohibited owing to the disease but that the large trees have been locally reduced in frequency as a result of DED. The superior general density of elm trees in northern Lier, owing to the exceptionally rich soil in the warm southern slopes of the region,> may have contributed to the rapid increase of DED in the area 15 years ago and to the subsequent settlement of the disease outbreak as a chronic stage.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, P.O. Box 115, NO-1431 ├ůs, Norway

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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