Sudden Oak Death and Crown Fire
Sudden Oak Death (SOD) caused by the pathogen Phytopthora ramorum, is among the most virulent forest pathogens in North America. SOD is a non-native disease discovered a decade ago and now affecting forests throughout coastal California. SOD kills trees standing and, importantly, interrupts abscission of dead foliage, resulting in standing dead trees with attached dead foliage. In addition to the mid-term fire hazard as a result of branch and stem breakage, short-term increases in hazard may result from standing dead trees (see figure below). These effects were observed in 2008 wildfires in northern California, particularly the Basin Fire. Our research on the Fire-SOD phenomenon covers both short- and mid-term fire hazard research in tanoak forests from the Bay Area to the Oregon border.
This research has been funded by the L.W. Schatz Demonstration Tree Farm and the USDA PSW Sudden Oak Death Program . Our research is a collaborative effort among the Fire Lab, University of California Cooperative Extension (Yana Valachovic and Chris Lee), CalFire (Hugh Scanlon) and the University of California-Davis (Dave Rizzo). We are currently collaborating with Marty Alexander (Canadian Forest Service) and Miguel Cruz () to model these changing crown fuels.
We anticipate ramping up efforts on this emerging topic.
Fire Lab products to date( we have several other products in progress or in submission):
- San Diego Poster
- Yellowstone Poster Santa Cruz abstract
Images Figure 1 Pictures