Forest Science and Health

Learn about Emerald Ash Borer in Pennsylvania

Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania ash trees have succumbed to emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation, estimates Tim Tomon of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry’s Division of Forest Health. The number of dead ash trees reaches the millions if one considers states like Michigan, where EAB was first discovered in 2002.

Swiss needle cast spreading in Oregon

Douglas firs in the Oregon Coast Range are increasingly suffering from Swiss needle cast. One study estimates that the fungal disease stunts tree growth by about 50 percent, resulting in an annual economic loss of $128 million.

Swiss needle cast is a foliage disease whose symptoms include yellow needles, decreased needle retention, sparse crowns, and reduced diameter and height growth. A fungus infects the firs and disperses spores which plug the needle openings that carry water into and out of the tree.

NASF and MD Forest Service Lead Tour for Congressional Staff

By Greg Pilchak

On Wednesday August 10th, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service hosted an NASF State and Private Forestry program tour for key congressional staff.

Clemson scientists working to restore longleaf pine

Billions of magnificent trees that were nearly annihilated a century ago are making a slow, yet promising, comeback thanks in part to a team of Clemson University researchers and their collaborators.

Emerald Ash Borer May Soon Strike Out Baseball's Ash Bats

There's a voracious little bug destroying forests across the eastern U.S. Scientists say emerald ash borers, exotic beetles imported accidentally from Asia, have killed as many as 50 million trees.

They're now threatening groves in New York's Adirondack Mountains that are used to make an iconic kind of baseball bat.

Florida leads the nation in prescribed fire acreage

On August 2nd 2016, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam and the Florida Forest Service today announced that more they treated more than 204,000 acres of Florida state forests with prescribed fire. Prescribed fire is an important management tool for keeping natural habitats healthy and reducing wildfire risks. It mimics naturally occurring fires to the benefit of fire-dependent plants and animals, all the while reducing fuel loads and mitigating wildfire risk.

Oak Wilt Discovered on Long Island, NY

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Agriculture and Markets announced this week that oak wilt has been detected on Long Island. This is only the second confirmed infestation in New York, the first being reported in Schenectady County in 2008 and 2013. Oak wilt, a disease which kills thousands of oak trees in the eastern United States each year, is caused by a fungus that grows in the water conducting vessels of oak trees, preventing water transport and eventually killing its host.

USDA calls for citizen cooperation in gypsy moth prevention

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is requesting citizens that inspect their outdoor household items for gypsy moths before moving to a new area. The requirement to check lawn furniture, yard equipment, and outdoor toys is part of a larger effort to stop the spread of gypsy moths.

Study about Historical Fire Records Can Inform Forest Management Decisions

University of Missouri researchers have studied tree rings in Oklahoma and Tennessee to determine the areas’ history of fires. Understanding how fire has maintained forest ecosystems in the past makes it possible to determine the best ways to use fire to maintain those forests in the future.

Michael Stambaugh, the study’s lead author, says “the history of fire in America also is the history of humans on this continent. … [E]verywhere we see humans move, we see fires follow or be altered.”

Colorado Battling Tussock Moth

In Colorado, black-tusked tussock moths have spread across 25,000 acres in the last year from the 2014 infested area of 1,000 acres. The moth’s caterpillars are rapidly defoliating fir trees along Colorado’s Front Range, raising concerns for wildfire, recreation and tourism, and water supplies. Defoliated trees pose elevated wildfire risks and invite other pests, such as mountain pine beetles and western spruce budworm.