Pine Pitch Canker (PPC): pathways of pathogen spread and preventive measures.
Fusarium circinatum (Nirenberg and O' Donnell) is the causal agent of pine pitch canker (PPC) disease, one of the most devastating forest diseases worldwide. Long-distance spread occurs mainly through the movement of infected seeds whereas at regional level, the movement of seedlings, substrates, or containers may play an important role in fungal dispersal. Invasion of nurseries takes place via infected seeds and further spread can occur by planting contaminated seedlings, especially due to the possibility of infected plants remaining symptomless. Once established, F. circinatum spreads by rain, wind, and insects. The natural spread of the pathogen is limited due to the short dispersal distances of the spores and the fairly short flight distances of disseminating insects. In this review, we summarize the currently known dispersal pathways of the pathogen, discussing both natural and human-assisted processes. With the purpose of understanding how to best intervene in the disease's development in nurseries and forests, we outline the epidemiology of the pathogen describing the key factors influencing its spread. Preventive measures to control the spread of F. circinatum locally and globally are described with special emphasis on the challenges in implementing them.