DIAROD research summary

This project aims to facilitate communication and collaboration between researchers and practitioners investigating the behaviour of the pathogens Dothistroma septosporum and Dothistroma pini across Europe and wider afield. Both pathogens cause Dothistroma needle blight (DNB) on conifers of commercial significance across the world, mainly pine species, and cause needle defoliation, reductions in timber yield and tree mortality. The disease has been a major problem in the southern hemisphere for many years, but only recently has become more severe in plantations and natural forest ecosystems in Europe.

Research Objectives

The overall objective of the DIAROD Action is to identify the biosecurity implications and determine the risk of changing behaviour of forest pathogens to aid policy makers, regulators and land managers in the successful management of pathogen outbreaks. This is achieved using DNB as a model. The aims of the DIAROD COST Action programme are to:

  • Synthesise knowledge
  • Encourage collaborative research to address the key questions
  • Determine future research priorities
  • Develop management strategies applicable to this evolving disease and other future disease threats

Specific milestones within the programme are managed through 4 working groups:

  • Working group 1: The pathogen – defining the current disease situation
  • Working group 2: The environment- determining the risk of DNB
  • Working group 3: The host – resistance and susceptibility
  • Working Group 4: Identifying research gaps and dissemination

Results so far

34 countries are now participating in the programme, sharing knowledge and expertise. They are predominantly from Europe but we also have representation from Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, the USA and Russia.

There has been a high level of participation in Short-Term Scientific Missions which enable Early Stage Researchers to exchange ideas and techniques, and work in a range of institutions across Europe and further afield (South Africa, New Zealand).

Work is continuing on populating a new geo-database which will draw together all available information on Dothistroma spp. across Europe, including geographic location, local climatic and topographical information, molecular identity of isolates where available. These data are helping to map the distribution of the pathogen and severity of disease across a large area, and make inferences about the origins of the pathogen.

Researchers are collaborating on a review of known host trees for Dothistroma spp. using data from Europe and other countries.

Bringing people together from all over Europe has highlighted many different ways of managing the disease, and the various techniques will be drawn together during this programme to assist land managers across Europe.


The programme started in December 2011 and concluded in December 2015

Related resources

A special edition of Forest Pathology dedicated to DIAROD is planned for 2015-6.

A geo-database for Dothistroma will be available to the COST programme members

A literature review is available on the DIAROD webpages


Dr Anna Brown (Chair)

Funders and Partners

This programme is funded by the European Union – EU COST Action FP11002. Forest Research participation in the programme is also funded by the Forestry Commission

Forestry Commission policy
DIAROD facilitates communication and sharing of best practice on a Europe-wide basis enabling the Forestry Commission to base its policy and management decisions on a sound scientific and technical evidence base.