The historical counties of Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumberland and the Isle of Man have a rich diversity of geology, landscape, vegetation and wildlife. This is an account of an important group of fungi, the rusts and smuts, which are parasites of plants. In the past many host species were seriously affected, including wheat, barley, maize, tea and coffee, with major economic impact. Today the use of agrochemicals and the breeding of resistant varieties have reduced the losses. However, should the coffee rust become established in Brazil the global economy could be affected. After a short introduction to the biology of rusts and smuts, the physical and biological environment of the North West and the Isle of Man is described. The main part of the book is a detailed catalogue of all the species recorded in the region. These records date back to the nineteenth century but are mostly concentrated in the last sixty years, up to the present day.
Bruce Ing taught at Chester College, now the University of Chester, from 1971 to 2013 and is Visiting Professor of Environmental Biology and Emeritus Professor of Applied Science at the University. He has studied rusts and smuts for more than fifty years and has published many papers on them. He lived in North Wales for nearly forty years but is now retired to the north-west Highlands of Scotland, where he continues to research the local fungi.