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fagesos 2

Phytophthora-induced decline of fagaceae ecosystems in Southern Europe exacerbated by climate change: preserving ecosystem services through improved integrated pest management. (LIFE FAGESOS)

Plant health and forest decline are nowadays becoming a challenge for conservation of agroforestry systems. To ensure the preservation of these ecosystems it is necessary to improve tools and strategies enhancing their adaptation to the outbreak of Alien Invasive Plant Pathogens caused by climatic change.

Phytophthora diseases are increasing their impact and distribution range in evergreen oak and chestnut ecosystems of the Mediterranean basin, boosted by temperature increase and higher frequency of extreme weather events such as flooding and drought. Scarce public awareness of the problem, severe human impact on forest areas and the new EU regulation on fertilizers, that limits the use of K-phosphonate, the most efficient and ecofriendly molecule to mitigate disease impact, further increase the risk of epidemic spread of these diseases. Challenged Forest Ecosystems need improved tools & strategies to enhance their adaptation to the outlined issue, finally ensuring their preservation as important natural carbon sinks.
Indeed, FAGESOS will introduce tools to contrast diseases and enhance forests' resilience, by:

  • The delivery of regional maps for risk- and impact assessment of Phytophthora diseases in the Mediterranean basin in diverse current and predicted climatic scenarios, as a tool for policy makers and forest managers
  • The development, validation, implementation and dissemination of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) protocols, tailored to the specific target ecosystem, including a strictly scheduled use of new biomolecules and microorganisms with proven efficacy. Treatment protocols will be complemented by hygiene measures to prevent disease-spread
  • The delivery of fully accessible monitoring protocols, based on validated, innovative models & technologies

Intense communication, dissemination and capacity building activities, targeting different stakeholders to raise awareness and induce adaption of behaviour. The project will be implemented in Italy, Spain and Portugal through a multi-actor approach.

Universidad de Córdoba

LIFE FAGESOS aims to address and remediate the outbreak of Alien Invasive Plant Pathogens, adversely impacting natural and semi-natural Mediterranean Fagaceae forest ecosystems, through the elaboration and implementation of Integrated Pest Management protocols and the use of advanced tools for forecasting and monitoring of these outbreaks.

The University of Cordoba has a budget of 800,000 €, and its main activities focus on the development of risk, impact and habitat prediction models for pathogen distribution and disease symptoms, and the monitoring of IPM effects on treated areas. To this end, it leads two of the 7 project work packages, being responsible for various activities in the rest of the packages, with special relevance in the development of IPM protocols, the implementation of treatments, and the establishment of control and hygiene measures.

In addition, the University of Cordoba coordinates the activity of the rest of the Spanish partners and collaborators, with the participation of three more associated entities, and the presence of numerous stakeholders and collaborating organisations. The University of Cordoba is responsible for the training and education section foreseen among the dissemination activities of the project. The UCO team includes researchers from three departments, Forest Engineering Department, Botany, Ecology and Plant Physiology Department, and Engineering Graphics and Geomatics, with the participation of 8 researchers and 6 technical specialists hired for the different activities.


Code PAIDI: RNM-360

Rafael María Navarro Cerrillo. Partner. 

Universidad de Córdoba

Budget of Andalusian group: € 484806.30

Keywords: climate change adaptation of forest ecosystems, natural carbon sink, preserving forests, Phytophthora disease, disease and pest control
Duration: 60 months. September, 1th 2022 to August, 31th 2027
Project cost: € 6098190.10