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Pest categorisation of Davidsoniella virescens

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 Panel on Plant Health (PLH) performed a pest categorisation of Davidsoniella virescens, a well-defined and distinguishable fungal species of the family Ceratocystidaceae. The species was moved from the genus Ceratocystis to the genus Davidsoniella following a revision of the family. The former species name Ceratocystis virescens is used in the Council Directive 2000/29/EC. The pathogen is regulated in Annex IIAI as a harmful organism whose introduction into the EU is banned on plants (other than fruit and seeds) and wood (including wood which has not kept its natural round surface) of Acer saccharum, originating in the USA and Canada. The fungus is native to eastern North America and causes symptoms mainly on A. saccharum, but also on Liriodendron tulipifera. The fungus is also reported as a saprotroph on various hardwood species. The pest could enter the EU via wood, plants for planting and cut branches. Hosts and favourable climatic conditions are widespread in the EU. The pest would be able to spread following establishment through sap-feeding insects, root grafts and movement of infected wood and plants for planting. The pest introduction could have impacts on Acer spp. and L. tulipifera trees in the EU, by causing wilting, yellowing and the development of small leaves, as well as dieback of branches and, eventually, the death of trees. Avoiding damaging trees (as wounding facilitates infection of the fungus) and maintaining healthy trees (as tree stress facilitates the disease) are available measures to reduce impacts. The main knowledge gaps concern (i) the biology and epidemiology of the pathogen (including the saprotrophic form), (ii) the role of insect vectors for entry and spread, and (iii) the susceptibility of Acer spp. either native to or more recently established in Europe. 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.
[...]
Confirmation of absence has only been provided by the Netherlands and Slovenia. [...]
Regulatory status ▹ D. virescens is regulated by Council Directive 2000/29/EC (Annex IIA) on plants of Acer saccharum, other than fruit and seeds, originating in the USA and Canada, as well as on wood of A. saccharum, including wood which has not kept its natural round surface, originating in the USA and Canada. [...]
Pest potential for entry, establishment and spread in the EU territory ▹ Entry: the pest could enter the EU via wood, plants for planting, and cut branches
Establishment: hosts and favourable climatic conditions are widespread in the risk assessment (RA) area
Spread: the pest would be able to spread following establishment by various means, i.e. insects, root grafts and movement of infected wood and plants for planting. [...]
[...]
There is uncertainty about the susceptibility of Acer spp. native to Europe. There is uncertainty on whether the saprotrophic form is the same species as the pathogenic D. virescens. [...]
Potential for consequences in the EU territory ▹ The pest introduction could have impacts on Acer and Liriodendron trees. [...]
The introduction of the pest could have an impact on the intended use of plants for planting. [...]
Available measures ▹ Avoiding damaging the trees (as wounding facilitates infection of the fungus) and maintaining healthy stands (as tree stress facilitates the disease) are available measures to reduce impacts. [...]
There is a lack of information on available measures to reduce the risk of establishment in nurseries. [...]
It is uncertain how effective chemical control in nurseries could 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 biology and epidemiology of the pathogen (including whether the saprotrophic form is the same species as the pathogen), (ii) the role of insect vectors for entry and spread, and (iii) the susceptibility of Acer spp. native to Europe. [...]


EFSA Journal, Vol. 15, No. 12. (December 2017), e05104, https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2017.5104 
Key: INRMM:14506385

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