The oak family (Fagaceae) represents many ecologically, ethnobotanically, and economically valuable species, including the *oaks, chestnuts, and beech. However, multiple pathogenic diseases—such as sudden oak death, oak wilt, and beech bark disease—are threatening their long-term health and conservation. Synergistic, interdisciplinary, and cross-agency collaborations will be required to effectively monitor and plan for these threats. To this end, we are organizing the Oak Conservation Alliance and are seeking allies from research and academic institutions, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, private sectors, citizen scientists, and other groups to help in the process. Forming this alliance will help provide a stronger framework for collaboration, education outreach, and funding opportunities.
Community forum discussions have been held, representing stakeholders from various backgrounds that have provided valuable insights to address concerns. Monitoring and educational methods will include the use of mapping technologies, remote sensing, tissue sampling, community scientist applications, various online platforms/tools, and landscape ethnoecology/ethnobotany studies. Collaborative efforts in prevention, early detection, and planning will be key to success. The resulting data will be funneled into databases for use in future research (including spatial analyses, risk assessments, ecological impact studies, and sociocultural implication analyses and reports) to help study and preserve our valuable ecosystems and heritage.
*This family (Fagaceae) is commonly referred to as the beech family, however, we unorthodoxly refer to it as the "oak family" since oak species outnumber the others in the family and our focus is therefore more balanced towards the trees in the oak genus. Similarly, and for simplicity, when we refer to "oaks", we may be including other trees in the "oak family", not only those in the oak genus (i.e. chestnuts and beeches). For example, "Oak-Human Connections" is a less cumbersome way of saying"Oak-Chestnut-Beech-Human Connections" or "Fagaceae-Human Connections", and may be easier read by the general public.
The mission of the Oak Conservation Alliance is to bring awareness to the detrimental effects of oak diseases on our society.
Our vision is to equip a team of observers to help us track these sick trees in order to stop the spread.