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Title: Predicting the economic costs and property value losses attributed to sudden oak death damage in California (2010-2020)
Author: Kovacs, Kent; Vaclavik, Tomas; Haight, Robert G.; Pang, Arwin; Cunniffe, Nik J.; Gilligan, Christopher A.; Meentemeyer, Ross K.
Publication: Journal of Environmental Management. 92: 1292-1302.
Key Words: natural disaster, emerging infectious disease, invasive species, Phytophthora ramorum
Abstract: Phytophthora ramorum, cause of sudden oak death, is a quarantined, non-native, invasive forest pathogen resulting in substantial mortality in coastal live oak (Quercus agrifolia) and several other related tree species on the Pacific Coast of the United States. We estimate the discounted cost of oak treatment, removal, and replacement on developed land in California communities using simulations of P. ramorum spread and infection risk over the next decade (2010-2020). An estimated 734 thousand oak trees occur on developed land in communities in the analysis area. The simulations predict an expanding sudden oak death (SOD) infestation that will likely encompass most of northwestern California and warrant treatment, removal, and replacement of more than 10 thousand oak trees with discounted cost of $7.5 million. In addition, we estimate the discounted property losses to single family homes of $135 million. Expanding the land base to include developed land outside as well as inside communities doubles the estimates of the number of oak trees killed and the associated costs and losses. The predicted costs and property value losses are substantial, but many of the damages in urban areas (e.g. potential losses from increased fire and safety risks of the dead trees and the loss of ecosystem service values) are not included.
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