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New research shows rot on Douglas Fir

February 7, 2014

This week, research from the Washington Academy of Sciences was presented to the Washington State Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee on a threat to the health of Washington’s forests.

At the request of Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, the Academy of Sciences produced a report on laminated root rot, a fungal pathogen that has a significant impact on the health of Douglas fir. Laminated root rot was responsible for the closure of Kopachuck State Park in 2011, and due to the longevity of the pathogen, could keep the campground closed for good.

At a hearing, Dr. R James Cook from Washington State University and Dr. Robert Edmonds from University of Washington discussed ways to counteract and minimize the damage already being done by the rot across the state. At the hearing, the scientists underscored the economic impact of laminated root, which can reduce the timber yield of a stand of conifers by 5-15%.

Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark said at the hearing. “These findings will be of tremendous significance to state and private land managers who have experienced environmental and economic loss from this devastating disease.”

While potential solutions were discussed, the message was that more research is needed to understand how this disease spreads from tree to tree. The scientists also called for more research into opportunities to increase resistance using technology currently used in other industries.

A copy of the report is available at the Academy website: http://www.washacad.org/initiatives/files/WSAS_Laminated_Root_Rot_%202013.pdf.

Categories: Harbor News, KXRO Outdoors
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