[
Root Disease Management Guidebook Table of Contents]

Introduction

Forest tree root pathogens are widespread throughout all forested ecosystems of British Columbia, occurring on many deciduous and coniferous hosts. Root pathogens are an integral part of these forested ecosystems and can be viewed as both beneficial and detrimental to the health, function and productivity of forests. Root pathogens can reduce tree growth, lower wood quality and cause early mortality. They also function as important factors in the dynamics of forest disturbance; playing a role in nutrient cycling, ecological succession, and biodiversity. The biology of root pathogens is such that harvesting, regeneration, and stand management activities can affect the competitive behaviour, and subsequent spread, of root pathogens in ecosystems.

Ecosystem-based forest management strives to maintain the function of root pathogens while not creating conditions that favour these pathogens over other ecological site factors. An important principle of forest management is that the role of root pathogens must be recognized and understood in each ecosystem. Forest management objectives and prescriptions should be set in light of the constraints of pathogen biology and site ecology.

Of the many root pathogens in British Columbia, several are considered to cause a very significant disruption to the maintenance of existing forest crops, and the regeneration and maintenance of future stands. As such, these pathogens are regarded as management concerns and are termed pests. Root diseases are widespread in nature and require special attention at all levels of planning. They have impacts on forest productivity, recreational safety, and biodiversity. Root diseases should be considered at all levels of planning and when creating prescriptions, even though they may not necessarily be treated in all situations.

The major root diseases covered in this guidebook are:

Rhizina root disease (Rhizina undulata) is covered in the Pests of Young Stands Guidebook. The cedar strain of laminated root rot is covered in the Tree Wounding and Decay Guidebook as is Schweinitzii butt rot (Phaeolus schweinitzii) and some other minor root pathogens.

This guidebook is designed to provide: (1) a background to forest root disease management (i.e., why, where, and how to manage root disease), and (2) the necessary tools for managing root disease (e.g., identification aids, decision tools, procedures).


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