Root diseases

Forest tree root diseases are caused by fungal pathogens. These pathogens occur throughout all forest ecosystems in British Columbia. Root disease is economically more damaging in forests than losses caused by insects and fire combined.

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Effects of Root diseases

They're a large part of forested ecosystems and have positive and negative effects. Root diseases are an important factor in maintaining the health of forests.

Positives:

  • Nutrient cycling
  • Changes in ecological and species structure
  • Ecosystem biodiversity

Negatives:

  • Reduce tree growth
  • Lower tree wood quality
  • Early tree death

Managing of root diseases

Ecosystem-based forest management 'recognizes’ natural forests and attempts to manage forested stands as close to these characteristics as possible. 

It strives to maintain the positive functions of root pathogens and limit the negative functions.

Root diseases should be considered in forest management and planning.

Types of root disease in B.C.

Major root diseases include:

  • Armillaria root disease (Armillaria ostoyae)
  • Laminated root disease (Phellinus sulpharscens)
  • Tomentosus root disease (Onnia tomentosus)
  • Blackstain root disease (Ophiostoma wageneri)
  • Annosus root disease (Heterobasidion occidentalis)

To learn more about root diseases read Managing Root Disease in British Columbia