Understanding and Managing Sudden Oak Death in California

Part 2. Managing Stands Before, During, and After SOD

2.1. Developing a SOD Management Plan

2.1.1. Why is Management Needed?

Most SOD-affected forests are not managed for production of forest products. Typical land uses in affected areas include rural residential development, park lands, natural reserves, and watershed lands. The forests in these areas are prized for providing wildlife habitat, ecological benefits, recreational uses, or simply a desirable living environment (table 2-1).

Before the introduction of P. ramorum, mortality rates of SOD-susceptible oaks and tanoaks were low (see 1.5 Stand-level SOD impacts). Little or no active management was necessary to maintain forests dominated by these species. However, SOD has greatly changed the stability and sustainability of these forests. Landowners can no longer assume that the forest will remain stable under the largely passive management that worked in the past. SOD-impacted stands can undergo dramatic changes in canopy cover and vegetation composition in less than 10 years. Active management is needed in many SOD-affected forests to direct forest succession towards desired vegetation types and to restore lost ecosystem services.

Table 2-1—Some ecosystem services provided by forests1

General ecological services

Carbon fixation and storage


Air quality protection


Erosion protection


Water quality protection


Moderation of stormwater flows / flood protection


Local climate modification


Nutrient cycling

Plants and animals

Special status species habitat


Locally rare or uncommon species habitat


Native biodiversity protection


Wildlife migration corridors and refuges


Special habitat features


Suppression of invasive species

Human interactions

Recreational activities


Health benefits – exercise, sunlight exposure, stress reduction


Historic significance


Cultural,/aesthetic, spiritual values


Property value enhancement


Wood products


Energy conservation


Other forest products - edible fungi, spices


Buffering between incompatible land uses


Visual impact – views, screening


Noise reduction

1While most of the general services can be provided by various forest types, the quality of habitat-related services can differ greatly between forest types.