The economic crisis has not only hit me personally (know anyone with a job?), but is now beginning to hit our fragile ecosystems and ultimately the services that we take as free for now. A fungus, an invasive species about which we are still learning, Phytophthora ramorum, known sometimes in the vernacular as sudden oak death, ws first discovered in the mid 1990’s in California. Besides killing oaks, the pathogen also infects Rhododendron spp., huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), bay laurel (Umbellularia californica), madrone (Arbutus menziesii), bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita), and California buckeye (Aesculus californica).
With the potential to follow in the path of chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease, the budget ax has struck as state funds which were being used for eradication efforts in southern Oregon forests are proposed to be eliminated. “The Oregon Department of Forestry under the direction of the Legislative Fiscal Office has returned to the state $265,400 of $427,500 in general funds previously approved by the Emergency Board for SOD, (Phytophthora ramorum) eradication.”
Mitch Lies, State balances budget on ag: Legislature targets natural resource agencies to balance Oregon spending , Capital Press,Thursday, February 26, 2009