A grave of death trees has spread through Northern California nowadays. It seems that there is no fight against the oak tree epidemic due to a plant pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum. The experts first detected it in 1995, and it is believed that it was brought in the United States via imported ornamental plants. Presently, scientists believe that the only possible solution is to cut down the trees which carry the disease, situated along the borders of the areas already infected to stop the pathogen to move further.
According to David Rizzo, specialized in plant pathology at UC-Davis, even if the wildlife officials in Oregon took action, it was not in time to stop the epidemic. Rizzo states that 2002 was the perfect year to stop the oak tree epidemic but unfortunately, there was not enough research at the time. According to him, it took five years to understand the death cause of the trees. But to locate the pathogen, survey the area and removal of the infected trees would have taken a lot of costs and an unbelievable amount of effort.
Rizzo and his colleagues believe that even with the financial help from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection ,even larger amounts of money are needed to save every part of the oak forests. Moreover, oak is the ‘tree of life’ among California woodlands, as the entire ecological system relies on it. Not only plants but also animals depend on the survival of the oak forests. If the oak is endangered, then three hundred species of animals which live in its habitat would also be greatly endangered. Meaning that , in the future, the decrease of oak forests would bring heavy consequences on the entire wildlife in California.
Presently, Rizzo thinks that instead of erasing the epidemic, we have to bring our attention to stopping it to become even further widespread. Then efforts should be made to restore the areas that have been affected. And last, cutting – down the infected trees which represent a danger to spread the epidemic and using wildfires to clean the area even better.
In conclusion, the fight against the oak tree epidemic is not lost but the trees are. After such an unfortunate event, wildlife experts and scientists will be ready in the future to face any threat as it is known now, that precaution is the best way to prevent a disaster.
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