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Pest categorisation of Pseudocercospora pini-densiflorae

Michael Jeger, Claude Bragard, David Caffier, Thierry Candresse, Elisavet Chatzivassiliou, Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz, Gianni Gilioli, Jean-Claude Gregoire, Josep A. Jaques Miret, Alan MacLeod, Maria Navajas Navarro, Björn Niere, Stephen Parnell, Roel Potting, Trond Rafoss, Vittorio Rossi, Gregor Urek, Ariena Van Bruggen, Wopke Van der Werf, Jonathan West, Stephan Winter, Johanna Boberg, Paolo Gonthier, Marco Pautasso

Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Plant Health (PLH) Panel performed a pest categorisation of Pseudocercospora pini-densiflorae, a well-defined and distinguishable fungal species of the family Mycosphaerellaceae. The regulated harmful organism is the anamorph Cercoseptoria pini-densiflorae (synonym Cercospora pini-densiflorae) with the corresponding teleomorph Mycosphaerella gibsonii. P. pini-densiflorae causes a needle blight of Pinus spp. also known as Cercospora blight of pines or Cercospora needle blight. P. pini-densiflorae is reported from sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, Asia and Oceania, but not from the EU. The pathogen is regulated in Council Directive 2000/29/EC (Annex IIAI) as a quarantine organism whose introduction into the EU is banned on plants (other than fruit and seeds) and wood of Pinus. The pest could enter the EU via plants for planting and other means (uncleaned seed, cut branches of pine trees, isolated bark, growing media accompanying plants, and mycorrhizal soil inocula). Hosts are widespread in the EU and favourable climatic conditions are present in Mediterranean countries. Pinus halepensis, Pinus nigra, Pinus pinea, Pinus pinaster and Pinus sylvestris are reported to be highly susceptible to the pathogen. The pest would be able to spread following establishment after introduction in the EU mainly on infected plants for planting. The pest introduction could have impacts in nurseries and young plantations. Cleaning seeds from needles and removing infected seedlings and pine litter from affected nurseries can reduce the risk of establishment in nurseries and of spread from nurseries to forests, especially given the limited scale of splash dispersal. The main knowledge gaps concern (i) the role of means of entry/spread other than plants for planting and (ii) the potential consequences in mature tree plantations and forests. The criteria assessed by the Panel for consideration as potential quarantine pest are met. For regulated non-quarantine pests, the criterion on the pest presence in the EU is not met.

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Conclusions. [...]
Identity of the pest ▹ The identity of the pest as a species is clear. [...]
Absence/presence of the pest in the EU territory ▹ The pest is not reported to be present in the EU.
[...]
The pest may be present in the EU at low incidence, thus without causing damage and remaining undetected. [...]
Regulatory status ▹ P. pini-densiflorae is regulated by Council Directive 2000/29/EC (Annex IIAI) on plants of Pinus (other than fruit and seeds), and wood of Pinus. [...]
Pest potential for entry, establishment and spread in the EU territory ▹ Entry: the pest could enter the EU via the plants for planting pathway and other means (uncleaned seed, cut branches of pine trees, isolated bark, leaves, stems, growing media accompanying plants, and mycorrhizal soil inocula).
Establishment: hosts are widespread in the risk assessment (RA) area and favourable climatic conditions are present in Mediterranean countries.
Spread: the pest would be able to spread following establishment mainly on infected plants for planting. [...]
The pathogen can be spread by plants for planting, but also via airborne ascospores and rain-splashed conidia. [...]
[...]
The importance of the means of entry and spread other than plants for planting is unclear.
The need to regulate wood as a pathway of entry is questionable, given that the pathogen is unlikely to be present on timber. [...]
Potential for consequences in the EU territory ▹ The pest introduction could have impacts in nurseries and young plantations. Extensive defoliation and death of young trees could lead to additional stress in semi-natural forest environments. [...]
The introduction of the pest could have an impact on the intended use of plants for planting. [...]
There is uncertainty about the potential consequences in mature plantations and forests. [...]
Available measures ▹ Cleaning seeds from needles, removing infected seedlings and pine litter from affected nurseries and chemical control can reduce the risk of establishment in nurseries and of spread from nurseries to forests. [...]
[...].
It is uncertain how effective chemical control in nurseries can be and whether it might just mask symptoms, hence allowing the movement of the pathogen via the trade in plants for planting. [...]
Conclusion on pest categorisation ▹ The criteria assessed by the Panel for consideration as potential quarantine pest are met. [...]
The criterion on the pest presence in the EU is not met. [...]
Aspects of assessment to focus on/scenarios to address in future if appropriate ▹ The main knowledge gaps concern (i) the presence of the pest in EU MS, (ii) the role of means of entry/spread other than plants for planting and (iii) the potential consequences in mature tree plantations and forests. [...]


EFSA Journal, Vol. 15, No. 11. (November 2017), e05029, https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2017.5029 
Key: INRMM:14474237

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