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Pest categorisation of Mycodiella laricis‐leptolepidis

Michael Jeger, Claude Bragard, David Caffier, Thierry Candresse, Elisavet Chatzivassiliou, Katharina Dehnen‐Schmutz, Gianni Gilioli, Jean‐Claude Grégoire, 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 Mycodiella laricis‐leptolepidis, a well‐defined and distinguishable fungal species of the family Mycosphaerellaceae. The former species name Mycosphaerella laricis‐leptolepis is used in the Council Directive 2000/29/EC. The pathogen is regulated in Annex IAI as a harmful organism whose introduction into the EU is banned. M. laricis‐leptolepidis is native to East Asia and causes a disease known as needle cast of Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi = Larix leptolepis) and Kurile larch (Larix gmelinii). European larch (Larix decidua) was found to be susceptible to the disease as introduced tree in Japan. The fungus could enter the EU via plants for planting and cut branches of Larix spp. It could establish in the EU, as hosts are present and climatic conditions are favourable. The pathogen would be able to spread following establishment by human movement of infected plants for planting and by dissemination of ascospores. Should the pathogen be introduced in the EU, impacts can be expected due to needle loss in larch forests and plantations, thus leading to reduced tree growth and ecosystem service provision. The use of resistant/tolerant varieties can reduce the impacts. The key uncertainties are the knowledge gaps concerning (i) the potential range of spread through ascospores and (ii) the level of impacts in the native range of the pathogen. The criteria assessed by the Panel for consideration as a 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.
[...]
Regulatory status ▹ M. laricis‐leptolepidis is regulated by Council Directive 2000/29/EC (Annex IAI, as Mycosphaerella laricis‐leptolepis) as a harmful organism whose introduction into and spread within all Member States shall be banned.
[...]
Pest potential for entry, establishment and spread in the EU territory ▹ Entry: the pest could enter the EU via plants for planting and cut branches.
Establishment: hosts and favourable climatic conditions are widespread in the risk assessment area.
Spread: the pest would be able to spread following establishment by movement of infected plants for planting and cut branches, and natural spread.
[...]
Plants for planting are not the main means of spread, as the pathogen could also by movement of cut branches and via natural spread.
[...]
The effectiveness of restricting the movement of plants for planting during dormancy (without needles) in reducing the risk of introduction of the pathogen is unknown.
The potential range of spread through ascospores is unknown. [...]
Potential for consequences in the EU territory ▹ he pest introduction would have economic and environmental impacts in natural forests and larch plantations
[...]
The pest introduction would have an impact on the intended use of Larix plants for planting.
[...]
There is little information on the level of impact of M. laricis‐leptolepidis in East Asia
[...]
Available measures ▹ Import prohibition of Larix plants for planting is an available measure to reduce the risk of introduction.
The use of resistant/tolerant varieties can reduce the impacts, should the pathogen be introduced.
[...]
Production of plants for planting in pest‐free areas can prevent pest presence on plants for planting.
[...]
It is uncertain whether chemical control in nurseries 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 a 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 potential range of spread through ascospores and (ii) the level of impacts in the native range of the pathogen.
However, the present categorisation has explored most if not all of the data available to the Panel on these knowledge gaps. [...]


EFSA Journal, Vol. 16, No. 4. (April 2018), e05246, https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5246 
Key: INRMM:14636123

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