DNR says groundbreaking research could save Washington Douglas fir

Washington Academy of Sciences

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the publication of an important new scientific report on root rot diseases in Douglas fir trees by a Study Committee of the Washington State Academy of Sciences. DNR requested the report to better understand and address root rot diseases that threaten Douglas fir, which are a vital economic and ecological resource in Washington.

 

The commercial harvest of Douglas fir on DNR-managed, state-owned public land in the 2011-2013 biennium accounted for  an estimated 800 million board feet of harvested timber and $250 million in non-tax revenue for DNR’s trust beneficiaries, which include public schools and universities.

 

“We thank the Washington Academy of Sciences and the esteemed scientists working under its auspices for completing this groundbreaking report,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “With the leadership of Study Committee Chair Dr. R. James Cook of Washington State University, they have produced an important road map to guide scientific inquiry and the response to tree parasites and disease that threaten the ecological health of Washington’s forests and the economic vitality of the communities that rely upon them.”

 

The Study Committee’s report, entitled Opportunities for Addressing Laminated Root Rot Caused by Phellinus Sulphurascens in Washington’s Forests, recommends consideration of several approaches to manage laminated root rot. The Committee also stressed the need for further molecular biology research, noting that a robust understanding of the full life cycle of tree-root pathogens and their host interactions can lead to innovative ways to exploit deviations in disease infection and tree mortality.

 

“The importance of molecular research on tree-root pathogens to our state and region cannot be overstated, and we urge research universities to devote resources and expertise to developing this emerging area of study,” said Dr. Cook. “I look forward to continued work with DNR on this issue, and I am pleased that the agency is under the effective leadership of Commissioner Goldmark, himself a molecular biologist with a keen interest in cutting-edge research.”

 

A copy of the report is available at the Academy website: http://www.washacad.org/initiatives/files/WSAS_Laminated_Root_Rot_%202013.pdf.

 

Washington State Academy of Sciences Study Committee

Members of the Study Committee include: R. James Cook, Chair, University of Washington; Robert L. Edmonds, University of Washington; Ned. B. Klopfenstein, USDA Forest Service; Willis Littke, Weyerhaeuser Company; Geral McDonald, USDA Forest Service; Daniel Omdal, DNR; Karen Ripley, DNR; Charles G. “Terry” Shaw, New Zealand and US Forest Services; Rona Sturrock, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre; and Paul Zambino, USDA Forest Service.

 

Commissioner Goldmark would like to thank all of the Study Committee members and their collaborators on behalf of the citizens of Washington.

 

About the Washington State Academy of Sciences

The Washington State Academy of Sciences provides expert scientific and engineering analysis to inform public policy-making, and works to increase the role and visibility of science in the State of Washington. Learn more at: http://www.washacad.org.

Washington Academy of Sciences