Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gypsy Moth Management Made More Efficient, Cost-Effective

07.04.2008
A computer model that provides land managers with a more efficient and cost-effective approach for controlling gypsy moths and other invasive pests has been created by biologists at Penn State University and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Gypsy moths, which were introduced to North America in the late 1860s, are responsible for the defoliation of over a million acres of forest land each year and the loss of tens of millions of dollars.

In a paper to be published later this month (April 2008) in the journal Ecological Applications, the team's results indicate that the best strategies for managing the destructive pests include eradicating medium-density infestations and reducing high-density infestations, rather than reducing spreading from the main infestation.

"Our model is state dependent, which means that it recommends different management strategies depending on the situation," said Katriona Shea, Penn State associate professor of biology and the team's leader. "Most managers currently use the same strategy in all situations, but our model suggests that by tailoring their approach to a particular situation, managers can be more effective in slowing the spread of invasive species."

Saving time and money is of the utmost importance with gypsy moths, which have by now spread throughout the northeastern United States and into the Midwest. "Some people argue that it's just a matter of time before the moths spread across the entire United States, so why bother trying to slow them down?" said Shea. "But we see it differently. We hope that by slowing their spread we can buy some time to find a better way to deal with them."

Although the model has little to offer those states that already have succumbed to infestation, it does have the potential to slow or halt the moths' spread into new areas. States that stand to benefit the most include North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

"Where I live in Pennsylvania, it's too late to slow the moths' spread because they already are prevalent across the entire state," said Shea. "It's so bad here that, at certain times, if you stand in the forest and listen, it sounds like it's raining, but what's raining is their excrement." Nevertheless, she added, "It's not too late to try to control their abundance in Pennsylvania. There is still a lot that can be done."

The model's results allow managers in those states where the moths are actively spreading to select a management strategy based on the number of medium-density and high-density infestation patches within their jurisdictions. The model ignores smaller patches because they often go extinct by themselves and, if they escape extinction as small patches, they will be detected in the model as medium patches. For example, if an area contains 20 medium patches and 20 large patches, the model suggests that managers should focus their energy and money on reducing some of those large patches to medium patches. This strategy, ultimately, would be the most effective means of controlling gypsy moths in that particular circumstance. "The model allows us to determine an exact optimal solution to a management problem," said Tiffany Bogich, a member of the reserach team who formerly was an undergraduate student at Penn State and now is a graduate student at the University of Cambridge.

"We really think this model, tailored to particular locations, could be quite useful to land managers," said Shea. "After all, we're not doing this research just to learn about the biology and ecology of gypsy moths. We want to use what we learn to make the world a better place."

This research received financial support from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency STAR Fellowship and the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Barbara K. Kennedy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>