Sudden Oak Death
The potential effects of disease caused by Phytophthora ramorum at Big Creek Reserve

The agent of Sudden Oak Death, Phytophthora ramorum, has been confirmed killing trees in Partington Canyon, 10 miles north of Big Creek Reserve. As of September 2002 the disease had not been found in Big Creek Reserve, but it could arrive into the reserve at any time. Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society, UC Davis, and UC Berkeley have converged on the reserve as a place to monitor the spread of the disease and measure its effects on habitats and species. Some useful and interesting links include the Phytosphere research page , and the The California Oak Mortality Task Force (COMTF) page. The latter page has a link describing a symposium to be held in Monterey, California in December, 2002, and another page of maps showing the extent of the infestation.

 Coast Live Oak killed by P. ramorum. (photo: wildlife conservation society)


The disease caused by Phytophthora ramorum may be spread by travelers who have recently been in contact with diseased trees elsewhere. We ask that visitors to Big Creek who have been invistigating SOD, or have recently been in the field in SOD-infested areas, to take special precautions before entering the reserve. These include washing boots and field equipment that may have been contaminated, using 10% bleach, lysol or another disinfectant (bleach is available in the library at the entrance). Also, campers and other visitors should not bring firewood into the reserve unless they are sure of its origin as being disease-free. Reserve staff will make every effort to provide firewood from a safe source. A general rule to follow: don't transport firewood out of SOD-infected areas or counties.

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 "Fruit traps" to catch falling acorns under tanoak conopy (Lithocarpus densiflora) along Devil's Creek 10-16-02

 Wildlife Conservation Society field workers installing fruit traps on a steep slope (about 40 degrees). 9-16-02