Oregon Burns Trees To Save Them


In a quick response, they kept it in “total full area,” an 89-square-mile plot of land where the sudden death of oak is increasing. No one is allowed to move pedestrians in or outside this area. Conifer logs coming from the enclosed zone should be cleaned of all debris and soil. Government reports It is predicted that if the interior area expands, Asian markets could penalize Oregon’s timber exports. Officials regularly monitor Oregon nurseries for Phytophthora ramorum. Until Peterson was discovered in April, the pathogen was believed to have been successfully conquered.

Photo: Oregon Department of Forestry

What Peterson found was more than 20 miles from the quarantine border, too far for the spores to travel on their own. Analysis of the samples confirmed that the trees were infected with Phytophthora ramorum, but that’s not the only bad news: It’s a new species of the pathogen, “North American Two,” or “NA2,” (named for on the continent where it was first isolated in a lab), previously found only in nurseries. That means it’s a new introduction-perhaps also from an imported nursery plant, even if it’s not confirmed-and a new, unpredictable version of the organism.

For Peterson, it was shocking, and most of all, disappointing. “The nursery industry, in particular, has invested a lot of energy in monitoring for Phytophthora ramorum, and trying to prevent these outbreaks,” he said. But plant pathogens, such as human viruses, are small, agile, and difficult to defend. The disease is “living in the soil, and there is so much movement of plant material and soil between one location and another that this kind of thing happens,” Peterson said. “It’s not surprising that it later happened.”

It is not yet known how NA2 behaves in a forest, although in some laboratory studies it has been found to be more aggressive than NA1, the fault of which is now widespread. In an even worse situation, a more contagious sin may have spread beyond the tanoak of other species, possibly equally. the Douglas Fir and other factors that contribute to commercial trees.

Facing this new battlefield fell largely to Sarah Navarro, the sudden pathologist in oak’s death. He and his team surveyed the affected area, found that more than 146 of the 186 tanoak and wild rhododendrons they sampled were positive. The trouble with NA2 is more than they ever thought.

They could have tried clearing and then fertilizing the plants, but that was a slow, complicated process that left piles of logs that could be mistaken for fuel, creating opportunities for those who didn’t. ‘y confused campers accidentally carrying the affected logs. Navarro felt he had only one real option: Cut and burn. “It’s not the business I’m in,” Navarro said. But it was the best tool he had to try to slow the spread.



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