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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Oak Acorns, Beech Nuts and Chestnuts historically were the "big three" mast crops that Black Bears gorged on in the Fall fatttening up for Winter hibernation.............With globalization bringing all kinds of non native insects and viruses to our shores, there is a real concern for our Black Bear population down the road.............The American Chestnut is functionally exitinct in our eastern woodlands, "punched out" in the early 20th century by the exotic Chestnut blight..............Our Beech trees are now greatly stressed with Beech Bark Disease, brought on by a European Beech Scale insect,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, And for the past two decades, Sudden Oak Death, Oak Wilt, Oak Decline and the Red Oak Borer have mounted a "4-nation blitzkrieg", debilitating our Oaks with successive waves of attack....................Our Black Bears are omnivores like us humans and Coyotes and capable of dining on a plethora of plant and animal material...............But the fat content of nuts is so critical to their overwintering regimin and to female bears success in bringing healthy cubs into the world................Are the bears approaching a tipping point of decline due to all of theses stresses?


Relationship of Acorn Mast Production to
 Black Bear Population Growth Rates and
 Human—Bear Interactions in Northwestern
 South Carolina
No Access

Author Affiliations
Shefali Azad
Department of Forestry and Environmental
 Conservation, Clemson University, Clemson,
 SC 29634-0317.
Author for correspondence: 
Tammy Wactor
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, South Carolina
 Department of Natural Resources, Clemson, SC 29631.
David Jachowski
Department of Forestry and Environmental
 Conservation, Clemson University, Clemson, SC


Acorns represent a critical pulsed food 
source for American Black Bears 
(Ursus americanus) in the southern
 Appalachians, and represent their
 primary hibernation reserves. 
We used 20 years of acorn-mast data
 collected in northwestern South Carolina
 and examined time-lagged correlations 
to American Black Bear population 
growth rates (lambda), human—bear
 interactions, and bear visitation to
 bait stations. Our goal was to assess 
the relative significance of annual 
indices monitored for state bear 
Our results indicated that lambda 
was linked to acorn crop quality, 
although the correlation varied 
with oak species: positive with white
 oaks and negative with red oaks. 
Human—bear interactions were
 negatively correlated to mast in 
the same year. There was no significant
 relation between bait-station visitation
 and mast or lambda. Overall our study
 reflects gaps in current monitoring
 practices, and we provide ideas 
towards refining them.

Black Bear in White Oak eating acorns

Black Bear foraging for acorns

Red Oak Acorns

Sudden Oak Death

Oak mortality is caused by a new pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum

A phenomenon known as Sudden Oak Death
was first reported in 1995 in central coastal
California. Since then, tens of thousands of
tanoaks (Lithocarpus densiflorus), coast
 live oaks (Quercus agrifolia), and California black oaks (Quercus kelloggii) have been killed by a newly identified fungus,Phytophthora ramorum. On these hosts, the fungus causes a bleeding canker on the stem. The pathogen also infectsRhododendron spp., huckleberry
 (Vaccinium ovatum), bay laurel
(Umbellularia californica), madrone
 (Arbutus menziesii), bigleaf maple
(Acer macrophyllum), manzanita
 (Arctostaphylos manzanita), and
California buckeye (Aesculus californica).
 On these hosts the fungus causes leaf
 spot and twig dieback.

As of January 2002, the disease was
 known to occur only in California and
southwestern Oregon; however, transporting
 infected hosts may spread the disease.
The pathogen has the potential to infect
 oaks and other trees and shrubs elsewhere
 in the United States. Limited tests show
 that many oaks are susceptible to the
 fungus, including northern red oak and
 pin oak, which are highly susceptible.

On oaks and tanoak, cankers are formed
on the stems. Cankered trees may survive
 for one to several years, but once crown
dieback begins, leaves turn from green
to pale yellow to brown within a few weeks.
 A black or reddish ooze often bleeds from
 the cankers, staining the surface of the
 bark and the lichens that grow on it.
eding ooze may be difficult to see if it
has dried or has been washed off by rain,
although remnant dark staining is usually

Necrotic bark tissues surrounded by black
 zone lines are usually present under
affected bark. Because these symptoms
 can also be caused by other Phytophthora
 species, laboratory tests must be done
to confirm pathogen identity.

In the Eastern United States, other
disorders of oaks have similar symptoms.
 See the reverse of this sheet for descriptions.
 If unusual oak mortality occurs and symptoms
do not match these regional disorders, evaluate
 affected trees for Phytophthora ramorum.

In the United States, sudden oak death is
known to occur only along the west coast.
However, the fact that widely traded
rhododendron ornamentals can be infected
with the pathogen and the demonstrated
 susceptibility of some important eastern
 oaks make introduction to eastern hardwood
forests a significant risk. Early detection will
 be important for successful eradication.
Oaks defoliated early in the growing season
 by insects or pathogens may appear dead,
 but leaves usually reflush later in the season.
 Canker rots, slime flux, leaf scorch, root
diseases, freeze damage, herbicide injury,
and other ailments may cause symptoms
 similar to those caused by P. ramorum.
Oak wilt, oak decline, and red oak borer
damage are potentially the most confusing.
See the reverse of this sheet for comparisons
with sudden oak death symptoms.
To report infected trees or to receive
 additional information, please
 contact your State or Federal
 forest health specialist. On the
 Internet, visit the SOD home page at
To distinguish this new disease
 from diseases with similar appearance, visit

Eastern Oak Disorders That Resemble
 Sudden Oak Death

In eastern hardwood forests, sudden
 oak death can be confused, in particular,
 with oak wilt, oak decline, and red oak
 borer damage. Descriptions of these
disorders and comparisons with sudden oak death follow.

Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is an aggressive fungus
disease caused byCeratocystis
 fagacearum. It is one of the most
 serious diseases in the Eastern
United States, killing thousands of
oak trees in forests, woodlots, and
 home landscapes. Susceptible hosts
 include most oaks in the red oak
group and Texas live oak. Symptoms
 include wilting and discoloration of
the foliage, premature leaf drop, and
 rapid death of the tree within days
or weeks of the first symptoms.
Trees become infected with oak
 wilt in two ways: through connections
between root systems of adjacent
trees, and through insects that carry
the fungus to other trees that have
 been wounded.

Similarities: Oak wilt can also kill
trees very quickly, especially if
 infection begins through root grafts.
Differences: The oak wilt pathogen
 does not cause cankers on the stems,
 and no bleeding is associated with
this disease. Dark staining may be
 evident under the bark of trees with
oak wilt, but there are no conspicuous
 zone lines. Oak wilt typically causes
 red oak leaves to turn brown around
the edges while the veins remain green.
Leaves are rapidly shed as the tree dies.
 Conversely, in live oak with the sudden
oak death pathogen, the veins first turn
yellow and eventually turn brown. Leaves
 are often retained on the tree after it dies.
Oak Decline

Oak decline is a slow-acting disease
 complex that can kill physiologically
mature trees in the upper canopy.
 Decline results from interactions of
 multiple stresses, such as prolonged
drought and spring defoliation by late
 frost or insects, opportunistic root
disease fungi such as Armillaria
 mellea, and inner-bark-boring insects
 such as the twolined chestnut borer
and red oak borer. Progressive dieback
 of the crown is the main symptom of
oak decline and is an expression of an
impaired root system. This disease
can kill susceptible oaks within 3-5
 years of the onset of crown symptoms.
 Oak decline occurs throughout the
 range of eastern hardwood forests,
 but is particularly common in the
Southern Appalachian Mountains in
 North Carolina, Tennessee, and
 Virginia, as well as the Ozark
Mountains in Arkansas and Missouri.

Similarities: Oak decline can cause
death of many oaks on a landscape
 scale. Moist, dark stains may be
present on the trunk of trees
 affected by oak decline. Differences:
 Oak decline shows evidence that
 dieback has occurred over several
 years from the top down and outside
inward. Newly killed branches with
twigs attached are usually found in
 the same crown as those in a more
 advanced state of deterioration killed
 years before. Dieback associated
 with sudden oak death occurs over
 a growing season or two. The inner
 bark beneath the dark stain
associated with stem-boring-insect
attacks has a discrete margin with
 no zone lines or evidence of canker
 development beyond the attack site.
Red Oak Borer

Red oak borer (Enaphalodes rufulus
 (Haldeman)) attacks oaks of both
 red and white groups throughout
the eastern United States, but
prefers members of the red oak group;
 however, it does not kill trees.
Outbreaks are associated with
stressed trees that eventually die
from oak decline. The complete life
cycle takes 2 years. Adults are 1-1.5
inches long with antennae one to two
 times as long as the body. Larvae
are the damaging life stage. Adult
females lay eggs in mid-summer in
 refuges in the crevices of the bark.
Newly hatched larvae bore into the
 phloem, where they mine an irregular
burrow 0.5-1 inch in diameter before
 fall. In spring and summer of the
second year, dark, moist stains and
fine, granular frass may be seen on
 the trunk. Exposure of the inner bark
 reveals the frass-packed burrow and
 the larva, if it has not bored more
deeply into the wood to complete
development. Mature larvae are stout,
round-headed grubs about 2 inches
long before they pupate deep in the

Similarities: Moist, dark stains and
 fi ne frass may be present at sites
of red oak borer attack. Differences:
 With red oak borer the inner bark
beneath the dark stain contains a
frass-packed burrow and has a
discrete margin with no zone lines
or evidence of canker development beyond it.

For further information on 
related disorders: 
Oak Wilt:    src="/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_oakwilt/toc.htm 
Oak Decline:    src="/spfo/pubs/fidls/oakdecline/oakdecline.htm
Red Oak Borer:    src="/spfo/pubs/fidls/Red%20Oak%20Borer/redoak.htm
Other Pest Publications:    src="/pubs

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