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Article

Estimating the Potential for Forest Degradation in the Eastern United States Woodlands from an Introduction of Sudden Oak Death

Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
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Forests 2020, 11(12), 1334; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121334
Received: 13 November 2020 / Revised: 11 December 2020 / Accepted: 12 December 2020 / Published: 15 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Inventory, Modeling and Remote Sensing)
Research Highlights: This research identified areas of the eastern United States forests that may be at particular risk from Sudden Oak Death (SOD) if it becomes established in the region. The highest suitability for SOD occurs where there are both species at risk of serious infection and species that could spread SOD to new hosts. Background and Objectives: SOD, caused by Phytophthora ramorum, can cause serious damage to forests. Although SOD is not believed to exist in the wild in the eastern United States, the presence of potential P. ramorum hosts in the area has led to questions about the potential for its establishment there. The present project expanded on previous efforts by examining both the possibility and potential consequences of P. ramorum establishment based on the presence of suitable hosts. Materials and Methods: We developed a map of the potential severity of tree loss that could result from a P. ramorum establishment in the eastern United States as well as a habitat suitability index based on the density of P. ramorum susceptible and spreader host species. We also implemented a connectivity analysis method for determining patches important to the spread of P. ramorum in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Results: The Ozarks and Appalachians both had a high potential severity of infection due to their high percentage of susceptible species, but the Appalachians had a higher overall level of risk due to the presence of more spreader tree species in the area. Connectivity analysis in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park identified patches likely to be particularly important to P. ramorum spread. Conclusions: Analysis of the presence of potential P. ramorum hosts in the eastern United States identified suitable conditions for SOD establishment there, particularly in the Appalachians. Techniques developed in this research can identify critical areas for SOD spread at both landscape and regional scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sudden Oak Death; Phytophthora ramorum; forest epidemiology; eastern United States forests; oaks Sudden Oak Death; Phytophthora ramorum; forest epidemiology; eastern United States forests; oaks
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MDPI and ACS Style

Haller, D.J.; Wimberly, M.C. Estimating the Potential for Forest Degradation in the Eastern United States Woodlands from an Introduction of Sudden Oak Death. Forests 2020, 11, 1334. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121334

AMA Style

Haller DJ, Wimberly MC. Estimating the Potential for Forest Degradation in the Eastern United States Woodlands from an Introduction of Sudden Oak Death. Forests. 2020; 11(12):1334. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121334

Chicago/Turabian Style

Haller, Dillon J., and Michael C. Wimberly. 2020. "Estimating the Potential for Forest Degradation in the Eastern United States Woodlands from an Introduction of Sudden Oak Death" Forests 11, no. 12: 1334. https://doi.org/10.3390/f11121334

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