Pathogens Causing Us Pain

Ebola, flu, HIV/AIDS, malaria, are a handful of diseases that most people readily recognize as causing us pain. There are also many microbes in forest ecosystems that cause us “pain.” This pain may be economic, public safety, or otherwise. Large trees suffer mortality from disease more frequently, reducing biological diversity and beauty. While death by tree is less likely than death by ebola, it can still happen. Like human diseases, forest diseases are a natural part of the system, but control and prevention is much more difficult. Trees don’t go to the doctor when they’re sick, and detection is the number one challenge for dealing with any disease.

Video identifying ash dieback

Some diseases are introduced to new places where the local hosts have no resistance, such as sudden oak death

Sudden oak death landscape. Photo by David Rizzo, UC Davis.

Forest diseases can be managed, but it requires concentrated efforts in finding out how the disease is transmitted from one host to the next. And what environmental and human factors are affecting this transmission.

What diseases are impacting the forests where you live?

This was inspired by Richard Cobb and the talk he gave in the NC State FER Seminar series and finished due to participation in the 2015 #SciFund Outreach course


3 thoughts on “Pathogens Causing Us Pain

    • Thanks for reading! Chestnut blight in the United States is probably the most commonly used example of an exotic forest pathogen wreaking havoc. Despite losing essentially all of the American Chestnuts due to the pathogen and the reactive management efforts (e.g. pre-emptive tree removal), some of the same reactions tend to happen with current diseases. Evidence of hypovirulence (less infectious) of the pathogen in Europe certainly gives some hope for your trees. There is a lot of research and at least one book on the American Chestnut/Chestnut Blight; I will work on a post bringing some of this together.

      Liked by 1 person

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