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.
A paper reporting the results appears today 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."Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy