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Summary

For over a century, white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) has linked white pines (Strobus) with currants and gooseberries (Ribes) in a complex and serious disease epidemic in Asia, Europe, and North America. Because of ongoing changes in climate, societal demands for forests and their amenities, and scientific advances in genetics and proteomics, our current understanding and management of the white pine blister rust pathosystem has become outdated. Here, we present a review and synthesis of international scope on the biology and management of blister rust, white pines, Ribes, and other hosts. In this article, we provide a geographical and historical background, describe the taxonomy and life cycle of the rust, discuss pathology and ecology, and introduce a series of invited papers. These review articles summarize the literature on white pines, Ribes, and blister rust with respect to their status, threats, and management through genetics and silviculture. Although the principal focus is on North America, the different epidemics in Europe and Asia are also described. In the final article, we discuss several of the key observations and conclusions from the preceding review articles and identify prudent actions for research and management of white pine blister rust.