Title: Survival of Phytophthora ramorum following wildfires in the sudden oak death-impacted forests of the Big Sur region
Author: Beh, Maia M.; Metz, Margaret; Frangioso, Kerri; Rizzo, David;
Source: In: Frankel, S.J.; Kliejunas, J.T.; Palmieri, K.M.; Alexander, J.M. tech. coords. Proceedings of the sudden oak death fifth science symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-243. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 62-64
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Description: The summer of 2008 brought the first wildfires to occur in known Phytophthora ramorum-infested forests in California, with the largest individual fire burning in the Big Sur region of the central coast (Monterey County) (Metz et al. 2011). More than 100,000 ha in Big Sur were ultimately burned that summer, providing a natural experiment to examine the feedbacks between a destructive, invasive forest pathogen and wildfire. Big Sur is one of the most botanically and ecologically diverse areas in California, and its forests were among the earliest infested and most impacted by sudden oak death (SOD) in the state (Mascheretti et al. 2008, Meentemeyer et al. 2008). In 2006 and 2007, we established a network of 280 long-term forest plots in Big Sur to study the feedbacks between P. ramorum, its various hosts, and the physical environment (Haas et al. 2011, Metz et al. 2011). This plot network provided important pre-fire data on pathogen distribution, tree mortality, and host density levels, and a post-fire survey of burn severity indicators quantified forest impacts immediately post-fire in a subset of the plot network. The pre- and post-fire data from the Big Sur plot network allowed for a rare opportunity to study the interactions between P. ramorum and wildfire. Metz et al. (2011) found that, while burn severity was not greater in P. ramorum-infested areas compared to uninfested areas despite greater fuel loads, the stage of the disease invasion impacted burn severity in different forest strata. In this study, we examined the direct and indirect impacts of wildfire on the persistence of P. ramorum across the burned landscape of Big Sur (Beh et al. 2012). Specifically, we addressed three questions: (1) Did the 2008 wildfires eradicate P. ramorum from areas known to have been infested prior to the fires? (2) If the wildfires did not eradicate the pathogen, under what conditions was P. ramorum able to persist in forest stands despite fire? (3) What are the likely reservoirs for pathogen persistence and re-invasion?
Keywords: Sudden oak death, Phytophthora ramorum, invasive species, tanoak, Notholithocarpus densiflorus, coast live oak, Quercus agrifolia, Japanese larch, Larix kaempferi
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Beh, Maia M.; Metz, Margaret; Frangioso, Kerri; Rizzo, David. 2013. Survival of Phytophthora ramorum following wildfires in the sudden oak death-impacted forests of the Big Sur region. In: Frankel, S.J.; Kliejunas, J.T.; Palmieri, K.M.; Alexander, J.M. tech. coords. Proceedings of the sudden oak death fifth science symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-243. Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 62-64.
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