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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment
Staff image of René  Eschen

René Eschen Research Scientist, Ecosystems Management, and Risk Analysis and Invasion Ecology

T: +41 (0)32 421 48 87


Rue des Grillons 1 CH-2800 Delémont, Switzerland

I did my PhD on the restoration of species-rich grassland on ex-arable land, while based at CABI's centre in Switzerland. Also at this centre, I worked on projects on the impact of the Harlequin ladybird in Switzerland. Before starting to work for CABI in the UK, I was a postdoc at Royal Holloway for two years, initially working on mycorrhizal fungi in grassland ecosystems and then on fungal endophytes in creeping thistle. At CABI in Egham (UK), I worked on the monitoring of the release of the psyllid Aphalara itadori, the biological control agent against Japanese knotweed in the UK. I was also involved in a project about the effects of reduced cattle grazing on plants, insects and grassland birds in the UK.

In 2011, I moved to CABI Switzerland and am working on, among other things, the assessment of risks associated with the trade in plants for planting, a major pathway for the introduction of forest pests and diseases.

Project image: Controlling Japanese knotweed in Great Britain

Evaluating and managing the pathways of pest introductions through trade

The number of invasive organisms in European forests is increasing, with the trade in live plants recognized as a major pathway in the movement of pests and diseases. The number of shipments is so high that phytosanitary (plant health) inspections can only intercept a fraction of the harmful species. This...
Project image: Controlling Japanese knotweed in Great Britain

Woody weeds in East Africa

Many exotic trees and shrubs have been introduced into Africa and become destructive invasive species. They're reducing native biodiversity and limiting the livelihoods of those that live in rural communities. CABI is trying to mitigate these impacts in East Africa by generating and sharing knowledge on...
Project image: Controlling Japanese knotweed in Great Britain

Global warning: A global network of nurseries as early warning system against alien tree pests

The international trade in live plants is a major pathway for the introduction of invasive tree pests and pathogens, resulting in environmental and economic damage. Without knowing how harmful they could be, or that they even existed, they have not been regulated. A novel way of identifying potentially...
  1. Eschen, R., Brook, A.J., Maczey, N., Bradbury, A., Mayo, A., Watts, P., Wheeler, K., Peach, W.J. (2012) Effects of reduced grazing intensity on pasture vegetation and invertebrates. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 151: 53-60.

  2. Reidinger. S., Eschen, R., Gange, A., Finch, P. and Bezemer, T. (2012) Arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization, plant chemistry, and aboveground herbivory on Senecio jacobaea. Acta Oecologica 38: 8-16.

  3. Eschen, R., Hunt, S., Mykura, C., Gange, A.C. and Sutton, B.C. (2010) Arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization and soil nutrient content affect the foliar endophytic fungal community composition in Cirsium arvense L. Fungal Biology 114: 991-998.

  4. Eschen, R., Müller-Schärer, H. and Schaffner, U. (2009) Aboveground environment type, soil nutrient content and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi explain establishment success of Centaurea jacea on ex-arable land and in late-successional grasslands. Plant and Soil 322: 115-123.

  5. Eschen, R., Babendreier, D., Nauer, S., Bigler, F. and Kenis, M. (2007) Surveys for ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in Switzerland and confirmation of the presence of the invasive alien ladybird species, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas). Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft 80: 7-14.

  6. Töpfer, S., Ellsbury, M.M., Eschen, R., Kuhlmann, U. (2007) Spatial clustering of Diabrotica vigifera vigifera and Agriotes ustulatus in small scale maize fields without topographic relief drift Entomologia Expermentalis et Applicata 124: 61-75.

  7. Girardoz, S., Tomov, R., Eschen, R., Quicke, D.L.J. and Kenis, M. (2007) Two methods to assess the mortality factors affecting larvae and pupae of Cameraria ohridella in leaves of Aesculus hippocastanum in Switzerland and Bulgaria. Bulletin of Entomological Research 97: 1-9.

  8. Eschen, R., Mortimer, S.R., Lawson, C.S., Edwards, A.R., Brook, A.J., Igual, J.M., Hedlund, K. and Schaffner, U. (2007) Carbon addition alters early succession on ex-arable fields. Journal of Applied Ecology 44: 95-104.

  9. Eschen R., Schaffner U. and Müller-Schärer H. (2006) Soil carbon addition affects plant growth in a species-specific way. Journal of Applied Ecology 43: 35-42.

  10. Gange, A., Eschen, R., Wearn, J., Thawer, A. and Sutton, B. (2012) Differential effects of foliar endophytic fungi on insect herbivores attacking a herbaceous plant. Oecologia 168: 1023-1031.

  11. Roy, H.E., Adriaens, T., Isaac, N.J.B., Kenis,M., Onkelinx, T., San Martin, G., Brown, P.M.J., Hautier, L., Poland, R., Roy, D.B., Comont, R., Eschen, R., Frost, R., Zindel, R., Van Vlaenderen, J., Nedvěd, O., Ravn, H.P., Grégoire, J.-C., de Biseau, J.-C., Maes, D. (2012) Invasive alien predator causes rapid declines of native European ladybirds. Diversity and Distributions 18: 717-725.

  12. Clewley, G.D., Eschen, R., Shaw, R.H., Wright, D.J. (2012) The effectiveness of classical biological control of invasive plants. Journal of Applied Ecology 49: 1287-1295.

  13. Schaffner, U. Alewell, C., Eschen, R., Matties, D., Spiegelberger, T. and Hegg, O. (2012) Calcium Induces Long-Term Legacy Effects in a Subalpine Ecosystem. PLoS One 7: e51818.

  14. Eschen, R., Müller-Schärer, H. and Schaffner, U. (2013) Plant interspecific differences in arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization as a result of soil carbon addition. Mycorrhiza 23: 61-70.

  15. Tanner, R.A., Varia, S., Eschen, R., Wood, S., Murphy, S.T. and Gange, A.C. (2013) Impacts of an invasive non-native annual weed, Impatiens glandulifera, on aboveground and belowground invertebrate communities in the United Kingdom. PLoS One 8: e67271

  16. Worner, S.P., Gevrey, M., Eschen, R., Kenis, M., Paini, D., Singh, S., Suiter, K. and Watts, M.J. (2013) Self-organising maps and other methodologies for pest prioritisation. Neobiota: 18: 83-102

  17. Eschen, R., Holmes, T., Smith, D., Roques, A., Santini, A. and Kenis, M. (2014) Likelihood of establishment of tree pests and diseases based on their worldwide occurrence as determined by hierarchical cluster analysis. Forest Ecology and Management 315: 103-111.

  18. Hartley, S.E., Eschen, R., Horwood, J.M., Gange, A.C. and Hill, E.M. (2015) Infection by a foliar endophyte elicits novel arabidopside-based plant defence reactions in its host, Cirsium arvense. New Phytologist 205: 816-827.

  19. Eschen, R., Roques, A. and Santini, A. (2015) Taxonomic dissimilarity in patterns of interception and establishment of alien arthropods, nematodes and pathogens affecting woody plants in Europe. Diversity and Distributions 21: 36-45.

  20. Eschen, R., Rigaux, L., Sukovata, L., Vettraino, A.-M., Marzano, M. and Grégoire, J.-C. (2015) Phytosanitary inspection of woody plants for planting at European Union entry points - a practical enquiry. Biological Invasions 17: 2403-2413. DOI 10.1007/s10530-015-0883-6.

  21. Eschen, R., Britton, K., Brockerhoff, E., Burgess, T., Dalley, V., Epanchin-Niell, R.S., Gupta, K., Hardy, G., Huang, Y., Kenis, M., Kimani, E., Li, H.-M., Olsen, S., Ormrod, R., Otieno, W., Sadof, C., Tadeu, E. and Theyse, M. (2015) International variation in phytosanitary legislation and regulations governing importation of live plants. Environmental Science and Policy 51: 228-237

  22. Essl,F., Bacher, S., Blackburn, T.M., Booy, O., Brundu, G., Brunel, S., Cardoso, A.-C., Eschen, R., Gallardo, B., Galil, B., García-Berthou, E., Genovesi, P., Groom, Q., Harrower, C., Hulme, P.E., Katsanevakis, S., Marc Kenis, M., Kühn, I., Kumschick, S., Martinou, A.F., Nentwig, W., O’Flynn, C., Pagad, S., Pergl, J., Pyšek, P., Rabitsch, W., Richardson, D.M.,Roques, A., Roy, H.E., Scalera, R., Schindler, S., Seebens, H., Vanderhoeven, S., Vilà, M., Wilson, J.R.U., Zenetos, A., Jeschke, J.M. (2015) Crossing frontiers in tackling pathways of biological invasions. BioScience 65: 769-782 doi: 10.1093/biosci/biv082

  23. Eschen, R., Grégoire, J.-C., Hengeveld, G.M., de Hoop, M.B., Rigaux, L. and Potting, R.P.J. Trade patterns of the tree nursery industry in Europe and changes therein following findings of citrus longhorn beetle, Anoplophora chinensis Forster. Neobiota 26: 1-20