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  1. Society is confronted by interconnected threats to ecological sustainability. Among these is the devastation of forests by destructive non-native pathogens and insects introduced through global trade, leading to the loss of critical ecosystem services and a global forest health crisis. We argue that the forest health crisis is a public-good social dilemma and propose a response framework that incorporates principles of collective action. This framework enables scientists to better engage policymakers and empowers the public to advocate for proactive biosecurity and forest health management. Collective action in forest health features broadly inclusive stakeholder engagement to build trust and set goals; accountability for destructive pest introductions; pooled support for weakest-link partners; and inclusion of intrinsic and nonmarket values of forest ecosystems in risk assessment. We provide short-term and longer-term measures that incorporate the above principles to shift the societal and ecological forest health paradigm to a more resilient state. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Phytopathology, Volume 61 is September 2023. Please see for revised estimates. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 3, 2024
  2. Garnas, Jeff R. (Ed.)
    Abstract Some introduced species cause severe damage, although the majority have little impact. Robust predictions of which species are most likely to cause substantial impacts could focus efforts to mitigate those impacts or prevent certain invasions entirely. Introduced herbivorous insects can reduce crop yield, fundamentally alter natural and managed forest ecosystems, and are unique among invasive species in that they require certain host plants to succeed. Recent studies have demonstrated that understanding the evolutionary history of introduced herbivores and their host plants can provide robust predictions of impact. Specifically, divergence times between hosts in the native and introduced ranges of a nonnative insect can be used to predict the potential impact of the insect should it establish in a novel ecosystem. However, divergence time estimates vary among published phylogenetic datasets, making it crucial to understand if and how the choice of phylogeny affects prediction of impact. Here, we tested the robustness of impact prediction to variation in host phylogeny by using insects that feed on conifers and predicting the likelihood of high impact using four different published phylogenies. Our analyses ranked 62 insects that are not established in North America and 47 North American conifer species according to overall risk and vulnerability, respectively. We found that results were robust to the choice of phylogeny. Although published vascular plant phylogenies continue to be refined, our analysis indicates that those differences are not substantial enough to alter the predictions of invader impact. Our results can assist in focusing biosecurity programs for conifer pests and can be more generally applied to nonnative insects and their potential hosts by prioritizing surveillance for those insects most likely to be damaging invaders. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Watt, Michael (Ed.)
    Purpose of Review Outbreaks of tree-killing bark beetles have reached unprecedented levels in conifer forests in the northern hemisphere and are expected to further intensify due to climate change. In parts of Europe, bark beetle outbreaks and efforts to manage them have even triggered social unrests and political instability. These events have increasingly challenged traditional responses to outbreaks, and highlight the need for a more comprehensive management framework. Recent Findings Several synthesis papers on different aspects of bark beetle ecology and management exist. However, our understanding of outbreak drivers and impacts, principles of ecosystem management, governance, and the role of climate change in the dynamics of ecological and social systems has rapidly advanced in recent years. These advances are suggesting a reconsideration of previous management strategies. Summary We synthesize the state of knowledge on drivers and impacts of bark beetle outbreaks in Europe and propose a comprehensive context-dependent framework for their management. We illustrate our ideas for two contrasting societal objectives that represent the end-members of a continuum of forest management goals: wood and biomass production and the conservation of biodiversity and natural processes. For production forests, we propose a management approach addressing economic, social, ecological, infrastructural, and legislative aspects of bark beetle disturbances. In conservation forests, where non-intervention is the default option, we elaborate under which circumstances an active intervention is necessary, and whether such an intervention is in conflict with the objective to conserve biodiversity. Our approach revises the current management response to bark beetles in Europe and promotes an interdisciplinary social-ecological approach to dealing with disturbances. 
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  5. Assessing the ecological and economic impacts of non-native species is crucial to providing managers and policymakers with the information necessary to respond effectively. Most non-native species have minimal impacts on the environment in which they are introduced, but a small fraction are highly deleterious. The definition of ‘damaging’ or ‘high-impact’ varies based on the factors determined to be valuable by an individual or group, but interpretations of whether non-native species meet particular definitions can be influenced by the interpreter’s bias or level of expertise, or lack of group consensus. Uncertainty or disagreement about an impact classification may delay or otherwise adversely affect policymaking on management strategies. One way to prevent these issues would be to have a detailed, nine-point impact scale that would leave little room for interpretation and then divide the scale into agreed upon categories, such as low, medium, and high impact. Following a previously conducted, exhaustive search regarding non-native, conifer-specialist insects, the authors independently read the same sources and scored the impact of 41 conifer-specialist insects to determine if any variation among assessors existed when using a detailed impact scale. Each of the authors, who were selected to participate in the working group associated with this study because of their diverse backgrounds, also provided their level of expertise and uncertainty for each insect evaluated. We observed 85% congruence in impact rating among assessors, with 27% of the insects having perfect inter-rater agreement. Variance in assessment peaked in insects with a moderate impact level, perhaps due to ambiguous information or prior assessor perceptions of these specific insect species. The authors also participated in a joint fact-finding discussion of two insects with the most divergent impact scores to isolate potential sources of variation in assessor impact scores. We identified four themes that could be experienced by impact assessors: ambiguous information, discounted details, observed versus potential impact, and prior knowledge. To improve consistency in impact decision-making, we encourage groups to establish a detailed scale that would allow all observed and published impacts to fall under a particular score, provide clear, reproducible guidelines and training, and use consensus-building techniques when necessary. 
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  6. Summary

    We consider statistical and computational aspects of simulation-based Bayesian inference for a spatial–temporal model based on a multivariate point process which is only observed at sparsely distributed times. The point processes are indexed by the sites of a spatial lattice, and they exhibit spatial interaction. For specificity we consider a particular dynamical spatial lattice data set which has previously been analysed by a discrete time model involving unknown normalizing constants. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using continuous time processes compared with discrete time processes in the setting of the present paper as well as other spatial–temporal situations.

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