Sudden Oak Death (SOD) is an exotic introduced pathogen that has killed hundreds of thousands of native California trees. Each spring, since 2008, the Forest Pathology and Mycology Lab at the University of California at Berkeley conducts its annual SOD Blitz Survey Project to track the spread of this disease. The SOD Blitzes are vital to understanding the disease and developing management strategies.
Each Blitz campaign begins with a community meeting to educate citizen scientists about the pathogen and teach them how to contribute to the project. The disease, which has killed millions of oak and tanoak trees in California and Oregon, can infect up to 60 landscape plant species and spread from nursery stock to residential landscapes.
SOD-blitzes inform and educate the community about Sudden Oak Death, get locals involved in detecting the disease, and produce detailed local maps of disease distribution. The map can then be used to identify those areas where the infestation may be mild enough to justify proactive management.