September 5, 2022
Sword ferns are fundamental to PNW forests. They live long lives - for centuries, or even a thousand years for individual plants. Like Douglas-Fir, they take root on bare soil on open ground, rarely reproduce once the forest canopy forms, are hardy against pests, pathogens and drought.
But since 2014 they have been dying here at Seward Park and elsewhere throughout the PNW. Our citizen science research suggests a water-borne pathogen. This spot just off the sqebeqsed trail was the last intact "sea" of magnificent ferns - see photo below - until the die-off struck in September of 2020. We use this photo station to track its spread, and to inform our research into its causes and possible remedies.
The first mortality at this site, September 2020: 4 dead ferns:
The full history of our research can be found here.
We are volunteers working to preserve and enhance Seward Park, on behalf of all of the park’s visitors, the old-growth forest, and many species of wildlife.