958 forest zones analysed
The Diplodia pinea fungus is distributed over most part of pine plantations in Euskadi, according to the research. Out of a total of 958 forest zones studied, the fungus was detected in 817 of them. The disease caused by it 'pine wilt' produces the wilting of buds and the appearance of cankers (breaks in the tree's tissues) and deformations in trunks and branches, besides causing a bluish colouration of the part of the wood exposed to the air.
As regards its geographical distribution, the highest levels of infection by Diplodia pinea have been found in zones affected by hail or strong winds over the last ten years. With this data, Neiker-Tecnalia proposes that plantations of pinus radiata, the most vulnerable species, should not be undertaken in those areas with these climatic conditions, given that strong winds and hail cause damage to the trees and whereby the fungus enters.
`Pine wilt' greatly reduces the capacity for growth of the trees and can even end their lives. To this can be added the fact that timber of the affected individuals lose quality due to the deformations caused in the trunks.
Pitch canker favoured by rainfall
In the case of Fusarium circinatum, this is much less widespread and appears almost exclusively in the forest masses of pinus radiata located in the north-east of Gipuzkoa and in two large areas in the centre of Bizkaia. Of the 958 wooded zones studied, this fungus appears in
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