May 29, 2012
MADISON - The public is invited to comment on a guide being developed to address a growing threat to Wisconsin's pine forests and plantations called annosum root rot, a fungal disease that kills pine trees and causes wood decay.
First confirmed in Wisconsin in 1993, annosum has been found in 23 Wisconsin counties, including Adams, Buffalo, Columbia, Dunn, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marinette, Marquette, Oconto, Portage, Richland, Sauk, Shawano, Taylor, Trempealeau, Walworth, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood counties.
The disease spreads primarily in two ways: by spores from conks on infected trees and stumps landing on freshly cut stumps and through root contacts between adjoining trees/stumps, according to forest health experts. A fungicide treatment applied at the time of cutting prevents the disease from affecting fresh cut stumps that are not yet infected.
"Though it is an effective tool to protect the health of the pine resources, applying fungicide treatments at a local level presents operational complexities and additional burdens on loggers," said Kyoko Scanlon, forest health specialist with the Department of Natural Resources. "Our challenge is that in order to protect our wood resources and maintain an economy that relies on healthy logging and paper industries we must find a way to implement a treatment program that is practical for the forest industry."
While all four sessions are open to the public, the first two public listening sessions are focused on DNR forestry partners and those the guidelines would have the most impact on and will be held:
The second two listening sessions will be focused on the general public and will be held:
More information is available by searching for "annosum" on the DNR website.
At these sessions DNR Division of Forestry staff will share the scientific information that informed the development of the guidelines, the considerations that were made to make the recommendations operationally practical in the field, describe the main parts of the guide and solicit input and feedback.
The proposed guide is designed to be used as a tool to help landowners/property managers determine whether the fungicide treatment should be considered to reduce the risk of the introduction of annosum root rot in a particular forest stand. A series of questions will help the user learn whether a fungicide treatment is recommended based on current scientific knowledge and observations in Wisconsin.
Once finalized, the guide can also be used by foresters and loggers to help communicate with landowners/property managers about the fungicide treatment option. State managed lands will be required to follow the guide's recommendations, in keeping with the state's commitment to protect sustainable forestry resources.
Written comments will be accepted during the sessions and will be posted on the DNR website. Written comments can also be sent to Kyoko.Scanlon@Wisconsin.gov by July 20, 2012.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kyoko Scanlon, DNR forest health specialist - 608-275-3275 or Bob Manwell, DNR Office of Communications 608-264-9248