Invasive Species

Imported forest pests the greatest threat to U.S. Trees

When asked ‘what’s the greatest threat facing U.S. trees,’ common answers are climate change and development. 

David Strayer testifies before Congress on invasive species

Video

Testimony of David Strayer before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources on proposed legislation seeking exemptions from the Lacey Act.

David Strayer testifies before Congress on the damaging effects of invasive species

Testimony of David L. Strayer before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power, and Oceans. 23 June 2016

Adirondack Forest Pest Summit

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.

Tiny forest pests cause big problems

Podcast

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. 

Tree-smart trade is critical

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.

Cary Institute scientist says SE NY Is prime target of forest pests

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.

More forest pests than ever are entering the U.S., and it’s costing the public a fortune

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.

What it would take to stop invasive pests from destroying millions of U.S. trees

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.

The ‘slow motion crisis’ that’s facing U.S. forests

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.

Opportunities for Tree-SMART Trade

Video

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.

Project Summary: Community Impacts and Opportunities for Tree-SMART Trade (pdf, 5 MB)

The Cary Institute and the Science Policy Exchange are proposing five Tree-SMART Trade actions that will help safeguard trees and alleviate the economic burden on local governments and communities.

U.S. must step-up forest pest prevention, new study says

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.

Non-Native forest insects and diseases: Impacts and policy options

Video

Forest ecologist Gary Lovett discusses the economic and ecological impacts of forest pests and the possible policy implements that may reduce the threat.

Missing monarchs

Podcast

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.

Watch out for this weed!

Podcast

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.

Invasive species add to monarch butterfly’s woes

Most readers are familiar with monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). The striking orange and black species has historically been widespread throughout North America.

Has phragmites met its match?

Podcast

Goats are gaining a reputation as allies in the fight against invasive plants. Urban parks, college campuses, and nature preserves are taking advantage of their appetites and agility.

Trade and trees

Podcast

Debate about the Trans-Pacific Partnership overlooks an unintended consequence of increased trade with Asia – the assault on America's trees.

Cleaning up with mussels

Podcast

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.

Roundtable Discussion: Pulling Together to Stop the Spread

Lecture Video

RoundTable discussion for an invasive species forum hosted at Cary on March 21, 2015.

Resources for Landowners and Stewards

Lecture Video

Presentation by Carri Marschner for an invasive species forum hosted at Cary on March 21, 2015.

Utilizing a Terrestrial Invasive Species Rapid Response Team in the Adirondacks: Results and Lessons Learned

Lecture Video

Presentation by Brendan Quirion for an invasive species forum hosted at Cary on March 21, 2015.

Freshwater Invasions in the Hudson Valley: Causes, Impacts, and Management

Lecture Video

Presentation by David Strayer for an invasive species forum hosted at Cary on March 21, 2015.

Aliens in Our Uplands: Managing Past Mistakes, Preventing New Recruits

Lecture Video

Presentation by Linda Rohleder for an invasive species forum hosted at Cary on March 21, 2015.

Causes and Ecosystem Impacts of Invasive Species: Spotlight on Forest Pests and Pathogens

Lecture Video

Presentation by Gary Lovett for an invasive species forum hosted at Cary on March 21, 2015.

kudzu

New York’s ban on invasive species goes into effect

Podcast

In a win for New York State’s natural areas, new regulations have gone into effect banning a long list of plants and animals that have plagued our fields, forests, and freshwaters. 

Exotic pet trade spreads disease in amphibians

It’s a tough time to be an amphibian. Countless millions of frogs, toads and salamanders around the world are dying from two emerging diseases.

The Emerald Ash Borer and other invaders

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.

World of species right here on the Hudson

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.

Phragmites

Scientific name: Phragmites australis
Common names:  common reed
Form: perennial grass
Native status: invasive
Origin: Europe

Tatarian (Bush) honeysuckle

Scientific name: Lonicera tatarica
Common names:  bush honeysuckle
Form: perennial shrub
Native status: invasive
Origin: Asia

Water chestnut

Scientific name: Trapa natans
Common names:  water nut, water caltrop 
Form: perennial
Native status: invasive
Origin: Eurasia

Zebra mussel

Scientific name: Dreissena polymorpha
Length: .25-1.5 inches
Native status: invasive
Origin: Eurasia

Mute swan

Scientific name: Cygnus olor
Habitat:  rivers and lakes
Wing span: 7 ft.
Native status: invasive
Origin: Europe and Asia

Garlic mustard

Scientific name: Alliaria petiolata (mustard family)
Common names:  Garlic Root, Hedge Garlic, Sauce-alone, Jack-in-the-bush
Form: biennial herb
Native status: invasive
Origin: Europe

Introduced species wreak harm in new habitat

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.

Week highlights invasives among us

Invasive species typically are referred to as those moved from their native range by human activity and, having established themselves in the wilds of the new place, cause ecological or economic harm.

New Science Policy Exchange Project: Forest Pests and Pathogens

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. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Hudson Valley Invaders

During a relaxed walk on our grounds, learn about the ecological impacts of animal invaders and problem plants and what you can do to prevent their spread on your own property.

New York is a hotbed for damaging forest pests

When Chris Standley received a tip that some ash trees within the Mohonk Preserve might be infested by a devastating insect, he grabbed a drawknife and peeled away the bark.

Pests, Pathogens, and the Future of Hudson Valley Forests

Lecture Video

Presentation by Gary Lovett for a land stewardship management forum hosted at Cary on April 12, 2014.

mussels in pipe

Don't move a mussel (or a clam, or a snail)

Anyone that has spent time at a seaside pier has witnessed the destruction barnacles wreak on boat hulls. But biofouling animals are not limited to marine environments

What's all the talk about mute swans?

Podcast

In the late 1800s, mute swans were brought from Europe to the eastern U.S. to enhance the beauty of ponds on private estates.

Let's quit carping about it

Podcast

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.

Invaders underfoot in our forests

Podcast

Despite their familiarity, earthworms are an invasive species in America's northern temperate forests. They arrived in the mid-1800s, with the arrival of European settlers.

On the beech

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.

Beware Marauding Carp

Cary's Dave Strayer co-authors a New York Times piece proposing a plan to stop the ecologically destructive grass carp from spreading into the Hudson River and other inland waters.

Trees and lawn victims of Asian worm invasion

The Register-Star reports on one woman's experience of the destructive effect of an invasive earthworm on the health of her surrounding forest.

Mysterious mollusks multiplying in valley

Because people know that I work on freshwater shellfish, they send me shells. I get blurry jpegs attached to emails with subject lines like “What are these?”.

Marine invaders in the global marketplace

Podcast

Next time you go shopping, keep an eye out for the origins of the things you purchase. From kiwis grown in Chile to shirts made in Bangladesh – we are living in the age of the global marketplace.

Zebra Mussels and the Hudson River

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.

Policymakers briefed on water resources

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.

A tiny invader that's driving people indoors

Podcast

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.

Trees are good for human health

Podcast

Many of us have experienced a restorative walk in the woods. But does associating with trees really make us any healthier? 

Invasive species pose serious danger to humans

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.

Earthworms increase soils' greenhouse gas emissions

Microbial Ecologist Peter Groffman comments on a new study that links increased CO2 and nitrous oxide emissions with worm-ridden soils.

You can aid fight against invasives

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.

The Invasion: A Case Study on the Hudson River

Video

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.

What's Bugging Our Forests?

Lecture Video

Cary Institute’s Gary Lovett discusses how several invasive species are ravaging regional forests.

burmese python

Invasive species: good, bad, or neither?

Podcast

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.

earthworms

Earthworms are invading our forests

Podcast

In the northeastern U.S., all earthworms are non-native. And they are damaging our forest habitats.

Beware the impact of invasive plants

Take care to be sure that your "perfect plant" isn't actually a perfect menace in disguise. 

Invasive pests threaten our northern forests

“Catastrophic loss of tree species and a huge taxpayer burden—where's the sense in this?”

Northeast Science and Policy Consortium

Cary Institute's motto, "the science behind environmental solutions," is motivating a new collaborative venture. 

python

Better controls needed to keep pets out of wild

You may have heard that non-native Burmese pythons (probably released by a pet owner) are now established in Florida's Everglades, where they have developed a taste for the local cuisine.

Rethinking wild boars

Podcast

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. 

tropical forest

Deadly frog disease illustrates dangers of wildlife trade

The forest, normally filled with the chorus of calling frogs, falls silent. Something drops from the trees. And then another. Dead frogs are falling from the canopy.

zebra mussels

More action needed to stop invasive species

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.

Statement to the NYS Assembly on invasive species

Testimony from freshwater ecologist David Strayer on the negative effects of invasive plants and animals and the critical need for legislation to control the spread of destructive species.

wild boar

Halt the wild boar menace

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.

zebra mussels

Zebra mussels losing their grip; Hudson River ecosystem rebounding

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?

forest

Collective carelessness has led to loss of many species

Once there were big stands of hemlocks in the ravines and on the steep creek-banks. Their shade was so deep that hardly any underbrush could survive, so the ground was clear between their big trunks.

trees

Trees invaluable to community

Dave Strayer and Gary Lovett sounded a warning about the looming local extinction of ash trees. This almost certain event is because of the spread of the emerald ash borer.

emerald ash borer

Ash tree faces die-off as Asian pest spreads

As you drive around Dutchess County this fall, try to get a look at the dusky yellows and purples of the ash trees, because they won't be around much longer.

rock snot

Rock snot growing in New York rivers

As we approach the cold and flu season, a few of our nearby streams and rivers are just now getting over some serious congestion.

Hemlocks on the decline again: Weak trade regulations leave forests vulnerable to invasive pests

Accidentally imported from Asia into the eastern U.S. in the 1950s, the adelgid spread through the mid-Atlantic States and reached our area several years ago.  

Manage pathways to block invasive species

Willie Nelson once sang that he only missed his ex-lover on three days: yesterday, today and tomorrow. This simple division of time works as well for invasive species as it does for heartbreak.

Thinking about climate change during the winter

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.

Fish out of their own water

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.

Proposed shipping rules target invasive species

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.

Thorny shrub is a backyard bully

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.

Chinese mitten crabs: Invasive species found in Hudson

Look for a new animal in the Hudson this summer. The Chinese mitten crab is at our doorstep.

Plodding process lets invasive species take hold

A new invader is about to carve out a home in the Hudson River. Chinese mitten crabs, native to Eastern Asia, have been spotted in the Hudson and along our East Coast several times since last June.

Undesirable Expatriates: Preventing the Spread of Invasive Animals

Reconsider relocating aquarium fish into your backyard pond. Restrain yourself from ordering exotic pets through the Internet, no matter how interesting they might look in the pictures. 

The aliens that ate the Hudson River

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.

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