Pacific Northwest Douglas Fir fungus sweeps through monoculture forests

Swiss needle cast, Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii  (Pleosporales: Venturiaceae)
Most experienced gardeners know, plant diversity offers resistance to the spread of disease. Because Pacific Northwest coastal areas have been routinely planted with Douglas Fir trees and because climate changes have extended warm seasons, a disease known as Swiss Needle Cast (Phaeocryptopus gaeumannii) has moved throughout the region on the wind. Although not fatal, the fungal infection deforms and stunts both young and mature trees. Foresters use the word “epidemic” to describe the impact of the fungus which is native to the U.S. despite the Swiss nomenclature. Aerial tracking reveals more than 300,000 acres have experienced impact. If weather conditions continue to favor the fungus, wildlife habitat and timber production will be diminished. Read more here.

USDA Forest Service/Robert L. James
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