US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Susan J. Frankel

Pacific Southwest Research Station
800 Buchanan Street
United States

Phone: 510-883-8825
Fax: 510-883-8859
Contact Susan J. Frankel

Current Research

Susan is a biologist for Sudden Oak Death Research, at the USDA-Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) in Albany, CA. For the past 10 years, Susan has run the national Sudden Oak Death/Phytophthora ramorum competitive research grants program. She was the first chairperson of the California Oak Mortality Task Force,, and continues to be one of the leaders working to address sudden oak death in California. Susan also works on prevention of pathogen introductions into restoration areas, forest diseases given climate change, tracking forest pest trends and urban forest health. Susan participates in numerous international, national, regional and local leadership capacities and is an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Forest Research.

Research Interests

Susan's interests include forest Phytophthoras; invasive species management; climate change and forest diseases, urban forest health and tracking pest trends.

Past Research

From 1987 to 2005, Susan worked as a plant pathologist for Forest Health Protection, State and Private Forestry, Pacific Southwest Region Headquarters. Susan worked primarily on on root diseases, nursery pests, sudden oak death and pitch canker.

Why This Research is Important

Tree diseases, as exmplified by sudden oak death, affect people in many disciplines, industries and walks of life; for pathogen spread to be prevented all parties need to be engaged. Forest diseases need a scientific basis for management by land owners, arborists, homeowners, policy-makers, regulators, growers and producers (horticultural nurseries, compost, mushroom, cut foliage, Christmas trees), recreationists and tribal gatherers. Research findings are the basis for current international, federal and state regulations, and are used worldwide in risk assessments, monitoring and management programs.

U.S. forests are increasing threatened by invasive species, climate change and disturbance. Understanding the impacts of forest diseases is critical to sustain trees in urban forests, woodlands and wildlands.


  • University of Washington, Seattle, M.S. And M.F.R. Forest Pathology and Silviculture 1991
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.S. Plant Pathology, Natural Resources 1985

Professional Organizations

  • Western International Forest Disease Work Conference, Chairperson, Climate Change (2007 - Current)
    Past Chairperson of WIFDWC
  • California Forest Pest Council, At-Large Director (2005 - Current)
    Organzing annual meeting CA Forest Pest Council
  • California Oak Mortality Task Force, Chairperson, Research (2005 - Current)
    Past Chairperson

Awards & Recognition

  • 2020 CA DPR IPM Achievement Award - Phytophthoras in Native Habitats Work Group, 2021
    Recognizes outstanding achievement for advancing the use of integrated pest management and protecting human health and the environment in California. The group is being recognized for work to prevent pathogen introductions into restoration areas.
  • Outstanding reviewer - Botany Journal, 2020
  • NPDN Outstanding Team Service Award, 2016
    For work on Phytophthora tentaculata
  • Outstanding achievement Award in Forest Pathology, 2011
    Western International Forest Disease Work Conference
  • Excellence in Invasive Species Partnership Development - National FS Invasive Species Program, 2011
    Excellence in Invasive Species Partnership Development - National FS Invasive Species Program
  • Keynote speaker, Australian Plant Pathology Society Conference, 2006
    Spoke on managing sudden oak death
  • Regional Forester's Award for outstanding achievement, 2004
    Recognized work on responding to sudden oak death
  • S.J. Hall lecture, UC Berkeley, 2002
    Spoke at homecoming to UC Berkeley, Natural Resources


Research Highlights


Effective treatments for eradication of Sudden Oak Death pathogen, Phytophthora ramorum, in nursery soils

Researchers at the University of California - Davis, funded via a grant from PSW's competitive Sudden Oak Death Research Program, determined tha ...


New Report Assesses Impact of Climate Change on Forest Diseases

Climate change is projected to have far-reaching environmental effects domestically and abroad


Last updated on : 03/10/2021