Actions after finding a quarantine fungus in Slovene forests - case of Soča river valley.
Slovenia is one of the most forested countries in Europe. Extreme weather events and globalisation are changing our forests, which is reflected also in outspread of numerous new invasive alien species. The emergence of a quarantine fungus in forests poses a unique challenge, since the suppression of the disease outbreak in forestry is extensive and difficult. The action involves cutting, proper handling of cut materials and disinfection of machinery and equipment. The implementation of measures is difficult because of demanding topography, and even more so, due to administrative barriers. In Slovenia, in 2016 we reported the finding of the quarantine fungus Lecanosticta acicola (sin. Scirrhia acicola) in natural stands and plantations of black pine in the Soča river valley. Damages to black pine have been increasing over the last years, and the death of adult trees has also been observed. Recent genetic analyses have shown that a population of the fungus, present in Soča river valley, is still present in a geographically limited area, and we suppose that the virulence of this population towards black pine is higher compared to other populations in the territory of Slovenia and Croatia. We propose the implementation of measures that would slow down the spread of the disease and the awareness rising campaign for the professional and general public.