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When Fungus Ravages Trees, Fire Fights Back

Dogwood tree populations are in serious trouble. Could fire be the answer?

If you think Discula destructiva sounds like trouble, well, you’d be correct.

That is the name of the fungus devastating dogwood populations in North America. Accidentally transported from Asia, this fungus is threatening not only the dogwoods, but many species in the forest ecosystem that rely on them. Dogwood berries, for example, are an important food source for native songbirds.

The fungus loves cool and moist environments, so how do we get rid of it? You guessed it. Forest fire.

Purdue University researchers say controlled fires every 10 years can help kill off this disease, while still maintaining a healthy dogwood population.

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Molly Plunkett

is a journalism student at Indiana University and an online producer for A Moment of Science. She is originally from Wheaton, IL.

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