The following section was extracted from Recovery plan for laurel wilt on redbay and other forest species. Caused by Raffaelea lauricola, vector Xyleborus glabratus (Mayfield et al. 2009).
Arguably, the greatest immediate threat of economic impact associated with the establishment and spread of laurel wilt disease in the U.S. is that posed to the commercial avocado industry, an issue to be addressed in a separate Recovery Plan. Although redbay and most of the other native host species are not highly important commercially from the standpoint of wood utilization, fruit production, or ornamental trade, laurel wilt causes economic, ecological and aesthetic impacts that have not been well quantified. Economic impacts associated with laurel wilt on redbay and other native host species may include:
- Costs to homeowners, municipalities, parks, utility companies, etc., associated with the removal and disposal of dead host trees from landscapes and along streets and rights-of-way.
- Decreased property values associated with the death or removal of large redbay trees from residential landscapes and along streets.
- Increased administrative costs to government agencies associated with providing information and educational materials to the public during a laurel wilt epidemic.
- Lost revenue to nurseries that sell redbay or other lauraceous plants due to:
- Quarantines or stop-sales placed on the nurseries if host plants are found to harbor the laurel wilt vector or the pathogen within the nursery.
- Decreased sales of native plants known to be susceptible to laurel wilt.
- Lost revenue or increased administrative costs to businesses that sell firewood, mulch, or other unprocessed wood products, as regulations or restrictions on the movement of unprocessed wood are enacted at federal, state, or local levels in response to the RAB and other non-native wood inhabiting pests.
- Fire hazard associated with the massive amount of redbay mortality in forests where redbay is a common midstory component. This hazard has the potential to lead to economic impacts.
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