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Why Beech Trees Dying

Why Beech Trees Dying

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  • GS 3|| Environment || Biodiversity || Plant Diversity

Why in News?

  • Beech trees are dying in the Ohio state of USA and the actual reason can’t be sure yet by the researcher.

Beech Trees in Ohio Dying

  • A confounding new disease is killing beech trees in Ohio and elsewhere, and plant scientists are sounding an alarm while looking for an explanation.
  • In a study published in the journalForest Pathology, researchers and naturalists from The Ohio State University and metro parks in north-eastern Ohio report on the emerging “beech leaf disease” epidemic, calling for speedy work to find a culprit so that work can begin to stop its spread.
  • Already, the disease has been found in 11 Ohio counties, eight Pennsylvania counties and five counties in Ontario, Canada.
  • It’s characterized by dark-green “bands” that appear between the veins of the trees’ leaves and provide the first hint that the tree is diseased.
  • In later stages, leaves become uniformly darker, shrunken and leathery. Affected limbs stop forming buds and, over time, the tree dies. Young trees seem to be particularly vulnerable.

Single Species Disease

  • “It’s hard at this point to say where this disease will go, but it has all the hallmarks of sudden oak death–threats to trees that start slowly and quickly pick up speed”, asserted by Enrico Bonello, Ohio State professor of plant pathology.
  • From 2012 to 2016, the disease spread in one Ohio Countyat almost 1,250 acres a year. The threat is significant in Ohio and throughout more than 30 states in the eastern U.S., where beech trees are common and serve as habitats for a variety of animal species and as food for woodland birds and mammals, including squirrels and bears.
  • Scientists can’t be sure yet what is causing beech leaf disease, but researchers at Ohio State think that the symptoms point to a microbe rather than an insect.
  • In addition to American beech trees, or Fagus grandifolia, the disease has been reported in European ( sylvatica)and Oriental (F. orientalis) species in nurseries and at Holden Arboretum in northeastern Ohio.
  • This is worrisome because it appears to mean that the risk of disease extends beyond a single species, putting more trees in more areas of the world under threat,
  • Until scientists determine what is causing beech leaf disease, there’s little they can offer in the way of specific recommendations to stop its spread.