Human activity has contributed to increased forestry disease

Connections between climate change and biological trends are often difficult to establish from short-term studies. In a paper Drought, disease, defoliation and death: forest pathogens as agents of past vegetation change Professor Waller looks at the fossil evidence available to reconstruct outbreaks of fungal pathogens (such as ash dieback) and insect defoliators over the last 10,000 years, both in terms of their frequency and their influence on vegetation composition.

The albeit limited evidence currently available, supports a link with abrupt climate change and it is likely that in the past the interaction between climate change and such pathogens produced long-term changes in the abundance of tree taxa in the forests of North America and Europe.

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