Management of tree pests and pathogens is most successful and durable where an integrated management system is used. Such a system should be based on selection and breeding for disease and pest tolerant material and sound forestry practices (silviculture) to ensure stress-free plants, nursery and plantation hygiene. Based on this foundation, strategies such as biological and chemical control can then be used.
Tree health management can be treated in three main categories: PREVENTION, ERADICATION and MANAGEMENT. Prevention of disease and pest outbreaks includes sound quarantine to prevent the introduction of foreign pests and pathogens into a region, as well as the planting of disease/pest tolerant genotypes. Eradication is reliant on the early detection and report of new tree health problems, followed by the destruction of infected material before the pest/pathogen can spread to other areas. Eradication is, however, strongly reliant on effective monitoring and reporting systems to ensure rapid detection of new incursions. Management includes practices such as chemical and biological control, nursery and plantation hygiene, breeding and selection of resistant genotypes, effective silviculture to reduce inoculum/ insect population build-up as well as research focused on appropriate diagnoses and biology.
Forestry is a long term business and it is important to recognise that "quick fix" solutions to disease and pest problems are ineffectual and seldom realistic. Development of biological control agents, for example, may take up to ten years, depending on the available knowledge of the target pest.