Cork oak pests: a review of insect damage and management

Cork oak decline is widespread in all its distribution range and seems to be triggered mainly by both mismanagement and unfavorable climatic factors. As a result, cork oak forests become susceptible to pest attack, which accelerates the onset of decline. Pest management strategies for this valuable and highly biodiverse ecosystem are examined in this review, taking into account the main insect pests and how their impact on cork oak forests is affected by climate change. While monitoring pests may provide the tools to predict the transition from endemic to epidemic insect populations, forestry practices (sanitary felling), biological control, and trapping are some of the most promising measures in protecting cork oak forests.


Over the last decades, cork oak (Quercus suber L.) decline has affected millions of trees throughout its distribution range. Cork oak is a typically Mediterranean species remarkably relevant for the biodiversity and landscape conservation of vast evergreen oak forests. Cork oak is also well known and highly valued for cork production. Climatic changes, management practices, and biotic factors, particularly plant pathogens and insect pests, play a decisive role in tree death and market devaluation of cork. Here, we review the major insect pests possibly involved in cork oak decline, while discussing pest management strategies. A survey of the current literature was performed to identify major insect pests affecting cork oak trees, as well as to establish the most promising pest management strategies under climate change. Many authors seem to agree that the decline is triggered by both anthropogenic and abiotic factors, such as the mismanagement of cork oak forests and unfavorable climate (high temperatures and droughts). Consequently, trees become susceptible to pests and pathogens, which accelerate the onset of decline. Since a further increase in temperatures and droughts is expected, developing adequate management strategies to adapt cork oak trees to climate change, while simultaneously preventing and reducing insect pest attacks, is of foremost importance in the effort to conserve these unique and highly diverse ecosystems.


Tiberi R, Branco M, Bracalini M, Croci F, Panzavolta T 2016. Cork oak pests: a review of insect damage and management. Ann. For. Sci.: 1-14. 10.1007/s13595-015-0534-1.

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