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J R Soc Interface. 2007 Oct 22;4(16):963-72.

Landscape epidemiology of plant diseases.

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UMR INRA/Agrocampus Rennes 1099 [BIO3P], 65, rue de Saint-Brieuc, CS 84215, 35042 Rennes, France.


Many agricultural landscapes are characterized by a high degree of heterogeneity and fragmentation. Landscape ecology focuses on the influence of habitat heterogeneity in space and time on ecological processes. Landscape epidemiology aims at applying concepts and approaches originating from landscape ecology to the study of pathogen dynamics at the landscape scale. However, despite the strong influence that the landscape properties may have on the spread of plant diseases, landscape epidemiology has still received little attention from plant pathologists. Some recent methodological and technological progress provides new and powerful tools to describe and analyse the spatial patterns of host-pathogen interactions. Here, we review some important topics in plant pathology that may benefit from a landscape perspective. These include the influence of: landscape composition on the global inoculum pressure; landscape heterogeneity on pathogen dynamics; landscape structure on pathogen dispersal; and landscape properties on the emergence of pathogens and on their evolution.

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