Exotic pests and diseases of trees and timber

Queensland's forests are vulnerable to exotic pests and diseases. If introduced, these could have an impact on the survival or growth of trees and the quality and value of the timber.

The risk of incursions by exotic pests and diseases continues with increasing globalisation of trade. Forest managers need to be aware of exotic pests and diseases, as early detection is essential to prevent these disease outbreaks from becoming established.

Exotic pests

Asian spongy moth

The larvae of this moth (caterpillars or grubs) feed on many tree species including eucalypts and pines. Eggs and larvae are often on timber and shipping containers, if introduced to Australia, could cause significant damage to Queensland eucalypt and pine plantations.

Read about the Asian spongy moth.

Pine wilt nematode and pine sawyer beetles

The pine wilt nematode is native to the United States and Canada and causes pine wilt disease. This has caused significant damage to forests in north-eastern Asia and Portugal. The nematode is carried by adult pine sawyer beetles that transmit the nematode while feeding on bark or twigs. Nematodes block the trees' water-carrying vessels, causing rapid wilting and tree death.

Read about the Japanese sawyer beetle (also known as Japanese pine sawyer).

Exotic diseases

Myrtle rust

Myrtle rust (exotic strains not yet present in Australia) has severely damaged eucalypt plantations in South America and could have a significant impact on managed eucalypt plantations in tropical and subtropical coastal regions of eastern Australia.

The strain of myrtle rust currently in Australia is causing significant impact on a range of native plant species and communities in Queensland. The introduction of a different strain could expand the current host range and increase this impact.

Read about myrtle rust.

Coniothyrium stem canker

This is a serious stem disease of eucalypts. It has had a significant impact in South African plantations, affecting new growth and wood quality.

Read about coniothyrium stem canker.

Eucalypt leaf spot or blight

The fungus occurs in southern and South-East Asia and causes distortion and loss of leaves in eucalypts.

Read about eucalypt leaf spot.

Pitch pine canker

This disease may cause dieback or infected trees may die. It has caused significant damage to pine plantations in California.

Read about pitch pine canker.

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