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Economic and Environmental Impacts

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Page 1 Economic and Environmental Impacts of Phytophthora ramorumDRAFT:09/13/09Economic and Environmental Impacts of Phytophthora ramorum – Literature Review Completed Through August, 2009IntroductionThe introduction and establishment of the exotic pathogen Phytophthora ramorum into native forest ecosystems of California and Oregon, into the nursery/ornamental trade of the United States (U.S.), Canada and Europe, and into European gardens and landscapes have had signifi-cant economic and environmental impacts. Establishment of the pathogen in areas such as the hardwood forests of the eastern United States where known susceptible hosts occur will have additional impacts. This chapter is not intended to be an economic analysis, but rather summarizes the literature on the economic and environmental impacts of P. ramorum. The economic impacts section discuss-es the resources at risk (benefits of hosts/products) and the costs of P. ramorum in forests and woodlands, urban forests, and Christmas tree plantations; on forest products other than timber, and other forest values; in the nursery industry, and in the cut flower and foliage industry. The environmental impacts section summarizes the literature on the benefits provided by ecosystems and the effects of P. ramorum (potential for ecosystem destabilization, reduction in biodiversity, reduction or elimination of keystone species, reduction or elimination of endangered or threat-ened species), on recreation, and on wildlife. Economic ImpactsForests/Woodlands, U.S.Resources at Risk: California oak woodlands contain about 5 billion cubic feet of wood with a stumpage value over $275 million (Kliejunas 2003). The 5.8 billion cubic feet of oaks in nearby California timberlands are worth over $500 million for forest products alone (Kliejunas 2003). Oak products exported from California from 1996-2000 averaged almost $50 million per year (USITC 2005). In the U.S. as a whole, the export market value of red oak logs and lumber in 2002 was over $300 million (USITC 2005). In Oregon, the annual timber harvest value (mostly Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii]) of the four southwest Oregon counties (Josephine, Coos, Curry, and Douglas) where tanoak occurs,Page 2 Economic and Environmental Impacts of Phytophthora ramorumDRAFT:09/13/09based on 2006 data, is $1.68 billion per year (Kanaskie and others 2008b). Although neither tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus) nor coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) is a commercial timber tree in California or Oregon, tanoak is harvested in Oregon for the chip market when prices war-rant. Costs: The major impact of P. ramorum in forests of the U.S. has occurred in the mixed ev-ergreen and redwood-tanoak forests of coastal central California. Although damage on coast redwood and Douglas-fir from P. ramorum is limited to foliage and small branches, regulatory actions to prevent spread of the pathogen (for example, requiring removal of small branches, washing logs of soil) could impact (presumably in the form of lost markets) the redwood and Douglas-fir industry in California at an estimated $50 mil-lion a year (USDA 2005). As an example, 2009 was the first year in over 20 years with an abundant redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) cone crop. Seed collections costs were in-creased by the need to comply with P. ramorum regulations that prohibit movement of redwood twigs and needles from moving out of the infested coastal California counties. Every cone had to be clipped by hand, costing an estimated $100 per bushel for the 300 bushels collected (Susan Frankel, SOD program manager, 2009, personal communication) Any regulations imposed to limit spread may also affect timber harvest and trade in the commercial Douglas-fir forests in Oregon, Washington, and western Canada.In Oregon, potential losses of at least $100 million per year in stumpage value (lost harvest) are estimated if eradication is not successful and P. ramorum spreads uncontrolled in southwest Oregon (Kanaskie and others 2008b). Between 2001 and the end of 2008, eradication treatments in Curry County, Oregon were completed on approximately 2,400 acres of forest at a cost of $4.3 million (Kanaskie and others 2008a; Kanaskie and others unpublished). Additional costs to monitor and manage the eradication program (environmental documentation for treatment for example) have incurred.An economic analysis of three control scenarios in Oregon forests—continue the current con-trol program (removal and destruction of all host plants within a 100 m radius when monitoring discovers an infected plant), increase the control program in an attempt to eradicate the pathogen from Oregon forests within 5 years (increase the level of monitoring and control), and no control program (monitoring only) was performed (Hall and Albers 2009). The analysis assumed that each policy would affect costs by altering the rate of spread of the pathogen and thus determine the rate of increase in the quarantine area. Costs to agencies as a result of program implementa-Figure 1. Phytophthora ramorum symptoms on coast redwood. Photo by Garbelotto lab, University of California, Berkeley.Page 3Economic and Environmental Impacts of Phytophthora ramorumDRAFT:09/13/09tion and costs to the forest products industry as a result of P. ramorum quarantine regulation were projected out for 20 years under the three scenarios. A variety of other costs (a reduction in Oregon’s forest product export market, a reduction in the non-timber forest product market, and increased production costs for producers utilizing P. ramorum host plants) were not included. The estimated costs and benefits associated with each program are summarized in Table 1. The wide range in benefit estimates (from a negative $6 to $9 million to a positive $1.2 billion) results from basing the estimates largely on the uncertain spread rate of P. ramorum in Oregon forests.The economic value of eastern U.S. timber species would be significantly reduced if P. ramorum becomes established there. Two oak species (Quercus rubra and Q. falcata) native to the eastern U.S. were found naturally infected in Europe (Brasier and others 2004, EPPO 2004), and suscep-tibility of other eastern U.S. tree species (Q. alba, Q. laurifolia, Q. nigra, Q. pagoda, Q. phellos, Q. prinus, Q. virginiana, Acer saccharum, Juglans nigra) has been experimentally demonstrated (Brasier and others 2005, Linderman and others 2007, Tooley and Kyde 2007). The potential


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