The world renown forest pathologist, Prof. Panos Tsopelas, presented a special seminar at FABI titled: Canker stain disease: a major threat to natural stands of Platanus orientalis in the Balkan Peninsula. Prof. Tsopelos is from the Laboratory of Forest Pathology at the Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems in Athens, Greece. He was visiting FABI as an external examiner for Alexander Osorio’s PhD examination.

In a fascinating presentation he explained how Ceratosystis platani, one of the most destructive diseases of forest trees, has wrought destruction on the Oriental Plane (P. orientalis) tree in Greece. This riparian trees species is one of the largest tree species in Greece and is extensively planted in cities as an ornamental tree. The canker stain disease was introduced to Europe during the Second World War and was discovered in Greece by Prof. Tsopelas in 2003. It has since spread rapidly through the natural ecosystems, infecting healthy trees through wounds. Its rapid spread has been facilitated by human intervention including infected cutting tools, construction equipment, firewood, plants for planting and in river systems.