Abiotic Forest Health Factors

Damage caused by non-living agents are referred to as abiotic forest health factors.  Trees stressed by abiotic damage are often predisposed to disease and insect attack, and symptoms caused by abiotic factors can be similar to those caused by other biotic factors (insects or pathogens).  Abiotic damage can also decrease wood quality.

Generally, non-infectious abiotic damage can be found on a variety of plant species, while symptoms and signs of infectious diseases are found only on specific hosts.  Before confirming if an abiotic disorder is present, check affected areas for evidence of disease, or animal or insect activity or feeding.  For example, this may include looking for specific signs and/or symptoms such as cankers, fruiting bodies, root disease or decay characteristics, beetle galleries, webbing or girdling.

Wounding and decay are instigated primarily by abiotic, mechanical damage such as snow breakage, wind and logging injury, but some decay can occur independently. Stem decays cause significant timber losses through breakage and degradation. Identify and learn more about tree wound and decay:

Identify and learn more about other abiotic forest health factors such as drought or snowpress: