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      Polypores, Agrobacterium and ivy damage on Hungarian ancient trees

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Ancient trees are important habitats, confer vital ecological roles and function as cultural legacies. Old trees with large girth are keystone structures in various ecosystems. We aim to present which species amongst the greatest Hungarian trees (and some other phanerophyte plants) are damaged by polypores (the most important agents of wood decay), Agrobacterium tumefaciens (usually causing root tumour) or ivy (competing against the native vegetation and causing windthrow damage) and at what extent and frequency; and whether there is a relationship between these types of damage and the origin of the species (native or adventive) or its situation (solitary or surrounded by other trees). We measured 2,000 trees, belonging to 29 native and 43 non-native species. Polypore infection could be detected in 12.2% of the observed 531 settlements, 22.8% are damaged by Agrobacterium and 29.6% by ivy, while 51.2% by other types of pests and diseases. Altogether, one third of the observed 2000 ancient or veteran trees suffered from one or more types of damage. A total of 33.5% of the native species (519 specimens out of 1550) and 28.7% of the adventives (129 trees out of 450) are damaged by any (or more than one) of the mentioned infections or ivy. Mostly, damage occurred to those old trees that stand in a park or forest, while the single (solitary) trees were usually healthy. The most infected regions are the western and south-western counties, while the Northern Hungarian Mountain Range is much less affected, despite its great sample size. Low damage was detected in the Great Hungarian Plain, but the number of sample areas and veteran trees was also low here. The damage to old trees remains without any management or healing in Hungary, since the only effective solution would be prevention.

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          Most cited references 15

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          The influence of forest regrowth, original canopy cover and tree size on saproxylic beetles associated with old oaks

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            The future of scattered trees in agricultural landscapes.

            Mature trees scattered throughout agricultural landscapes are critical habitat for some biota and provide a range of ecosystem services. These trees are declining in intensively managed agricultural landscapes globally. We developed a simulation model to predict the rates at which these trees are declining, identified the key variables that can be manipulated to mitigate this decline, and compared alternative management proposals. We used the initial numbers of trees in the stand, the predicted ages of these trees, their rate of growth, the number of recruits established, the frequency of recruitment, and the rate of tree mortality to simulate the dynamics of scattered trees in agricultural landscapes. We applied this simulation model to case studies from Spain, United States, Australia, and Costa Rica. We predicted that mature trees would be lost from these landscapes in 90-180 years under current management. Existing management recommendations for these landscapes--which focus on increasing recruitment--would not reverse this trend. The loss of scattered mature trees was most sensitive to tree mortality, stand age, number of recruits, and frequency of recruitment. We predicted that perpetuating mature trees in agricultural landscapes at or above existing densities requires a strategy that keeps mortality among established trees below around 0.5% per year, recruits new trees at a rate that is higher than the number of existing trees, and recruits new trees at a frequency in years equivalent to around 15% of the maximum life expectancy of trees. Numbers of mature trees in landscapes represented by the case studies will decline before they increase, even if strategies of this type are implemented immediately. This decline will be greater if a management response is delayed.
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              New Policies for Old Trees: Averting a Global Crisis in a Keystone Ecological Structure

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                June 18 2020
                June 18 2020
                : 40
                : 1-38
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.40.51633
                © 2020

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