Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Are New England's iconic maples at risk?

Date:
August 31, 2011
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Results from the first study of the Asian longhorned beetle in forests show that the invasive insect can easily spread from tree-lined city streets to neighboring forests.

An infested Worcester maple, showing exit holes from adult Asian longhorned beetles.
Credit: Dave Orwig

Are new England's iconic maple trees at risk? If a beetle has its way, the answer may be yes. Results from the first study of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in forests show that the invasive insect can easily spread from tree-lined city streets to neighboring forests.

Related Articles


A paper reporting the results appears August 30 in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research.

Successful ALB eradication efforts in Chicago, and ongoing eradication efforts in Boston, New York, and other U.S. cities have focused exclusively on urban street trees.

The ongoing ALB infestation in Worcester, Mass., is the only outbreak so far that has allowed the beetle to invade nearby closed-canopy forests.

The beetle was first detected in Worcester in 2008 by a private citizen.

Containment efforts now cover a 98-square-mile area around the city. Forests surrounding Worcester are part of a heavily wooded corridor stretching from New York into New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.

David Orwig, a forest ecologist at the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, says that "the ALB apparently has been in the Worcester area for at least 10 years, and, undetected, could have easily spread to even larger tracts of continuous forest." NSF's LTER is one of 26 such NSF LTER sites around the world and Orwig is one of two lead scientists on the study.

Kevin Dodds, an entomologist from the U.S. Forest Service and the other lead researcher on the study, adds, "From our work it became apparent that ALB was readily moving through forests and attacking trees, making it a threat to forests in the region."

On city streets, the ALB invades many different types of hardwood trees. But in forests, the beetle disproportionately attacks large maple trees.

At one of the forested study sites in a suburb north of Worcester, nearly two-thirds of all the maples were infested, including red, sugar, and Norway maples. Maple trees are a vital component of New England's iconic landscape, as well as its maple syrup industry.

Red maples, the study shows, are particularly vulnerable to infestation. Red maples are widespread in New England and central to the region's fall foliage tourism industry, which attracts more than one million visitors annually to New England and generates $1 billion in revenue.

According to Orwig, "If the ALB continues to spread outside Worcester, the abundance of red maples could provide a pathway for its dispersal throughout New England and other parts of eastern North America."

The Worcester ALB outbreak is the largest to date in North America with more than 19,600 infested trees found, more than 1,100,000 trees searched and more than 29,000 trees removed. It is also the largest in quarantined area size.

The ALB eradication efforts in these stands have involved tree harvest and consequently have led to shifts in forest composition from maple to oak, which may have cascading effects on soil processes and ecosystem function.

"NSF's LTER program, with collaboration by the U.S. Forest Service, is ideally suited for research that provides an early indication of the spread of a non-native species--one that's a potential socioeconomic and environmental threat," says Nancy Huntly, NSF LTER program director.

Orwig notes that a long view is critical to studying and forecasting the impacts of ALB and other invasive pests.

"The duration of the current infestation is unknown, but it is likely to continue for at least several more years," he says. "Only through a long-term approach can we begin to evaluate the impacts of how ecosystems are impacted over decades and longer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kevin J. Dodds, David A. Orwig. An invasive urban forest pest invades natural environments — Asian longhorned beetle in northeastern US hardwood forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 29 August 2011 DOI: 10.1139/x11-097

Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Are New England's iconic maples at risk?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830151232.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (2011, August 31). Are New England's iconic maples at risk?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830151232.htm
National Science Foundation. "Are New England's iconic maples at risk?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830151232.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins