Skip to content

Diseases and pests of tree species intended for resilient forests of the future

Fir, pine, maple and oak have a high tolerance to heat and drought. Nevertheless, there is currently an increased occurrence of a number of pests and pathogens on these “tree species of the future”. In the “CLIFF” project, knowledge about these organisms is to be expanded.

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions is increasing due to the current climate crisis. To prepare forests for the changing environmental conditions, forest management needs to take action now. One pillar in securing future forests is the use of tree species that can withstand the increasingly dry and warm conditions as well as extreme weather events.

Native species of pine, fir, maple and oak are considered suitable substitutes for trees that are no longer adapted to the climatic conditions in some regions of Austria. However, presently we observe that a variety of pests and complex diseases occur on these trees. Their future effects and risks on these tree species have not yet been clarified.

Presently we observe that a variety of pests and complex diseases occur on native species of pine, fir, maple and oak. Photo: BFW, Thomas Cech

The project “CLIFF” (CLimate Fit Forests) is a cooperation of the Austrian Federal Research Centre for Forests (BFW), the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) and the University of Vienna (UNIVIE), funded by the Austrian Forest Funds. In this project four “Future Forest Trees” are observed through the lens of Forest Protection to develop strategies against the consequences of current and impending pests and pathogens.

Project aims

The aim of the project is to help forest managers establish and sustain healthy, climate fit forests through:

  • Providing information on current and impending pests and pathogens of fir, pine, maple and oak
  • Determining the current status of distribution and damage intensity in Austrian forests of selected pathogens & pests
  • Conducting field collections and controlled experiments to create knowledge of the biology and ecology of selected pathogens & pests
  • Examining the abiotic factors that promote the occurrence and onset of diseases, such as temperature conditions, drought, etc.
  • Defining the host tree spectrum of various pathogens & pests
  • Development of management options to reduce the risk for future forests

During the project a continuous exchange and transfer of knowledge will be established between the project partners, the forest practitioners and stakeholders. The project website contains information on the selected tree species, their pathogens & pests, our project proceedings as well as upcoming events and workshops related to the ongoing work.

Team: Project Partners & Contact

Department of Forest Protection, Austrian Federal Office and Research Centre for Forests (BFW)
Seckendorff-Gudent-Weg 8, Austria, 1131 Vienna

Mag. Dr. Katharina Schwanda (

Project Partners:

Institute of Forest Entomology, Forest Pathology and Forest Protection (IFFF), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)

Logo BOKU 150 Jahre

Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research, University of Vienna (UNIVIE)

Logo der Universität Wien


Logo Waldfonds Republik Österreich

Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management

Logo BML