Tis the season when many Americans welcome trees into their homes. For millions of us, fresh-cut evergreens are at the heart of Christmas celebrations – a symbol of hope and joy. Sadly, the situation facing America’s trees is neither hopeful nor joyous.
The scourge of forest pests is expected to put almost two thirds of America’s forests at risk by 2027, costing several billion dollars every year for dead tree removal and jeopardizing longstanding U.S. industries that rely on timber.
In a towering forest of centuries-old eastern hemlocks, it's easy to miss one of the tree's nemeses. No larger than a speck of pepper, the Hemlock woolly adelgid spends its life on the underside of needles sucking sap, eventually killing the tree.
The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) are co-hosting an Adirondack Forest Pest Summit, a free conference meant to help raise awareness about invasive insects negatively affecting New York forests. The event will take place at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, July 11th.
Each year, more than 25 million shipping containers enter the U.S. All too often, highly destructive forest pests are lurking among their imported goods. Wood boring insects arrive as stowaways in wood packaging, such as pallets and crates.
In the Adirondacks and the Catskills, beech bark disease is taking out the largest beeches. Emerald ash borer, a little beetle that has killed over 100 million ash trees in the Midwest, is now active throughout the state, including the Capital Region.
A forest ecologist from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Dutchess County is the lead author of a paper about imported forest pests. Cary Institute and Harvard Forest led a team of scientists for the research. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne spoke with Cary Institute Senior Scientist Dr. Gary Lovett about the report’s findings.
In the 20th century, chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease decimated billions of U.S. trees, in forests and along urban and suburban streets. The tree diseases, caused by invasive pests, effectively changed the face of one American city landscape after another—chestnut trees were virtually wiped out and elms diminished to but a few locations—and cost local governments and homeowners a fortune.
When cheap consumer goods arrive on American shores, they sometimes bring invasive parasites that go on to decimate forests and urban trees. A new study, out Tuesday in the journal Ecological Applications, synthesizes the information available on the true costs of these species and lays out the best available policy responses.
Last week, a group of researchers published saddening news about "sudden oak death," spread by an invasive water mold, that has killed over a million trees in coastal California. The pathogen, they found, simply cannot be stopped — though it can still be contained, and the harm mitigated. But it is too extensively established now in California to eradicate.
Efforts to prevent new pests are not keeping pace with escalating trade and must be strengthened if we are to slow the loss of our nation's trees. Dr. Gary Lovett describes the threat and the steps that can be taken to save our forests.
Imported forest pests cause billions of dollars in damages each year, and U.S. property owners and municipalities foot most of the bill. Efforts to prevent new pests are not keeping pace with escalating trade and must be strengthened if we are to slow the loss of our nation’s trees. So reports a team of 16 scientists in a new paper published online today in the journal Ecological Applications.
We have talked about monarch butterflies before. The orange and black butterflies are often used in school lessons about insect ecology. Monarch caterpillars forage exclusively on milkweed; in the process they acquire foul-tasting chemicals that ward off predators. In late summer, monarchs living in the Eastern U.S. migrate to overwintering grounds in Mexico.
Weeds are the bane of many a gardener's or landscaper's existence. They sprout up, uncontrolled and unwelcome, and must be tediously managed time and again. But some weeds are more than a nuisance – they rise to the level of a public health hazard. Such is the case with giant hogweed.
Zebra mussels are one of the most pernicious invasive species in the United States having infested the Great Lakes in the 1980s and then having spread to 29 states by hitching rides on boats on inland waterways.
More and more often, we hear about the arrival of a foreign plant or insect that is wreaking havoc on our native ecosystems. Take, for example, the Emerald Ash Borer, which will likely decimate all the ash trees in our forests.
If you want to see plants and animals from around the world, you don’t have to go to the zoo or botanical garden — just visit the Hudson River. When you get out of your car, you see common reed (phragmites), false-indigo and purple loosestrife growing along the edges of the parking lot.
If you pay attention to plants, you already know non-native species are commonplace. Queen Anne's lace, chicory and garlic mustard — familiar sights along our roads — are just a handful of the species brought to the U.S. for medicinal or edible purposes.
The Harvard Forest, in collaboration with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, has launched a new Science Policy Exchange project on forest pests and pathogens. This project addresses growing concerns about damage to trees, forests, and local economies caused by introduced insects.
In the 1960s, grass carp were brought to the U.S. from Asia to control weeds in southern fish-farming operations. Unfortunately, like so many other exotics, these fish escaped into the wild, and have been moving northward.
In Ballard Park in Ridgefield, there are some lovely, thick-trunked, big-canopied beech trees, perfect for providing shade on a summer's day. They are old trees and despite their beauty, they're not healthy. They have beech bark disease.
In the Housatonic River, zebra mussels -- non-native bivalves that can move into a water body and just dominate it -- were found in 2009 in Massachusetts and in 2010 in Connecticut at Lake Lillinonah and Lake Zoar.
Cary scientists David Strayer and Emma Rosi-Marshall delivered expert testimony at a May 5, 2013 congressional briefing that highlighted problems with aquatic invasive species and “natural infrastructure” solutions. The briefing took place on Capitol Hill as the U.S. Senate debated the Water Resources Development Act.
The Asian tiger mosquito is yet another invasive species that has taken hold in the United States. It arrived here in 1985 in a shipment of tires imported from Asia. This little mosquito is an aggressive human biter capable of transmitting diseases.
Are invasive species killing us? This question must sound a little over the top if you think that invasive species are just garden pests, but history is filled with examples where they've killed humans.
Nearly every day, we read about problems caused by invaders like the emerald ash borer killing trees across New York, West Nile virus killing people across the United State (1,499 so far), zebra mussels clogging water intakes and changing the Great Lakes and Hudson River ecosystems and Burmese pythons eating everything in the Everglades.
A short documentary by the American Museum of Natural History. The video highlights zebra mussels in the Hudson River and the Cary research that closely analyzed the river before, during and after the invasion.
When we hear about the devastation caused by invasive species like emerald ash borers and hemlock wooly adelgids, it is easy to believe that all invasives should be killed. But in fact many well established invasives have neutral or even positive qualities: witness the popular sport fish rainbow trout and large-mouth bass.
Wild boars are a problem in more than twenty states. These invasive animals are prolific breeders with voracious appetites. They cause tremendous damage to crops and native plant communities and they spread diseases, such as pseudorabies, from feral hogs to domestic livestock.
Humans have carelessly moved thousands of species outside their native ranges through activities such as transfer of ballast water, release of pets and bait, movement of untreated wood, escapes from agriculture and aquaculture, and deliberate release of species that we thought to be beneficial.
Private hunting preserves in New York release wild boars for "trophy hunters" to shoot. This benefits only a tiny population of hunters and the game preserves, while presenting serious risks to the public.
One of the best-known bits of folk wisdom about invasive species is that they settle down after a while to become part of a rebalanced ecosystem, and stop being a problem. This is an appealing idea, but how often is it true?
When people think about climate change, the first thing that usually comes to mind is blazing hot summer days, severe droughts, or super-size hurricanes. But climate change is actually more significant in winter than in summer.
Last month's news that the invasive silver carp had crossed the electric barrier in a canal in Chicago ― and were only a short day's swim from invading Lake Michigan ― caused outcries from the outdoor community and tourist industry across the Great Lakes region.
New York state is taking an essential step to deal with invasive species, one of the most damaging and difficult environmental problems of our time, by proposing to limit the importation of ballast water into the state.
My backyard is being devoured by a silent but aggressive invader, multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora). This thorny perennial shrub is an Asian import with arching green stems called canes that can reach 10-15 feet long.
If you’ve walked much along the Hudson’s shores, you’ve probably seen thorny, black water-chestnut seedpods piled up along the high-tide line, thick stands of common reed in wetlands and along the railroad tracks, mute swans gliding across the water, carp splashing in the shallows, chunky shells of Atlantic rangia on the beaches of Haverstraw Bay, and the thin, sharp shells of zebra mussels littering shorelines from Newburgh north.