Garber Park is a 13-acre wildland park owned by the City of Oakland located behind the Claremont Hotel in Claremont Canyon. Garber Park is home to significant stands of big-leaf maple, California buckeyes and regenerating coast live oak woodland and forest. The Garber Park Stewards vision is to safeguard the native wildland resources of Garber Park while reducing the risk of wildfire and improving the trail system.
Monday, April 18, 2011
SOD-SUDDEN OAK DEATH: A Threat and an Opportunity
While Sudden Oak Death, SOD, takes its name as an analog to the terrifying killer of human infants, in fact the course of this botanic infection is not sudden (though the death of an infected oak may appear sudden to the untrained eye) and oaks in general are not the end goal of the pathogen (only some oaks are susceptible, including the Coast Live Oaks of our East Bay ridgelands). The recent devastated forests of Marin County were overwhelmingly comprised of trees we call "Tan Oak", which, botanically speaking, are not oaks at all. Nevertheless, dead and down Tan Oaks compromise the entire environment of which they are a mainstay, and engender a greatly magnified fire danger. We certainly do not want this scenario to play out in the East Bay hills among our vulnerable, signature Coast Live Oaks. (For an excellent article on the destructive potential of this pathogen, follow this link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/30/BAG11ILPL5.DTL)
At this time, there is no "cure" for SOD, but both treatments and strategies exist which may be employed to arrest or to slow the progress of the disease. In the East Bay we know positively that the pathogen is present, but we do not have a reliable or comprehensive assessment of its location except to say it has been identified in a small portion of Tilden Park and also in Huckleberry Regional Preserve.
On April 30-May 1 we have a unique opportunity to advance our knowledge of the local situation.