Fading Forests III, America’s Forests: What Choice Will We Make?

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And now for something completely different. I received a note from Faith Campbell about thes report, issued May 23.

Here’s a link and below is a summary:

Fading Forests III is a new report released by the University of Tennessee and The Nature Conservancy compiling the latest data and analysis on the introduction, spread, and costs of non-native invasive tree pests and diseases. Fading Forests III is the third invasive species study produced by co-authors Scott Schlarbaum of the University of Tennessee and Faith Campbell of The Nature Conservancy over a 20 year period.

Among the key findings:

In the last dozen years the emerald ash borer has spread from three states to 22; the Asian longhorned beetle has been detected at four additional sites; 28 new tree-killing pest species have been discovered.
Existing government programs have failed to halt introductions or respond effectively.
New pests are attacking tree species that have already been decimated by previous invasive species.
Spending to control and prevent invasive species lags far behind the growth of infestations and the value of the private and public resources at risk.

The site above links to the very cool Forest Service Northern Station Alien Pest Exchange, so if you click on the real map (not on the one I reposted) you can go to your own and neighboring counties and see what pests are there.

Thank you Nature Conservancy and Forest Service, and Scott Schlarbaum and Faith Campbell!

3 Comments

  1. Sharon

    What to say? This is no different than what happened to the Native Americans when they were exposed to the diseases of the Europeans. Today, in our unlimited global connectivity, we are still finding new threats faster than we can find cures. It is overwhelming but panic driven emotional reactions are not the answer. Today, global warming is the chief concern. Other concerns have come and gone. Eventually the bullet will strike the final blow and evolution will move on.

    Are we even capable of setting priorities? Do we have the knowledge? Can we get sufficient knowledge? Can we keep bias and self interest out of the process? We can all go off in every direction and eventually destroy each other or we can take it one step at a time picking the lowest hanging fruit and pledge to do less harm than good. I rejoice that this life is not the end. In the meantime, I will do my best and leave the rest to God and others.

    My latest post is an attempt to get us talking about an even “hotter” topic but we must recognize that a lot of what we do is whistling past the grave yard where we all shall eventually go figuratively or literally. I would really appreciate your comments on the post at http://forestpolicypub.com/2014/05/23/what-actions-should-be-taken-to-counter-global-warming-and-what-are-the-consequences/

  2. Thirty years ago, Weyerhaeuser sent a ship load of scantling lumber to Australia. It had been treated for insects. Kiln dried, if I am to guess, and mold sprayed as well. But the load of lumber and the ship were sent to a quarantine dock and had the holds and cargo fumigated, spending 28 days in detention. The issue? The stickers were green, untreated lumber. Those little lath like pieces of wood that tie a unit of lumber together internally.

    The issue with tree pests coming to the US is wholly to blame on the importing of machinery and finished goods and the dunnage that supports that equipment on its journey to the US. We have few inspectors in Homeland Security looking for insects. APHIS is now wholly part of that agency, and their job is to find terrorist apparatus and fixtures, not biological threats to our forests and farms. Priorities. The soft fruit industry is wracked by the SWD vinegar fruit fly, here only a few years due to post 9/11 priorities that did not include biological invasive species. Billions of gallons of sprays applied every seven days while fruit is vulnerable. Kick ass chemistries so that your blueberry does not have a maggot in it, or your peach or grape or cherry. Stuff that is organic labeled and still can kill you. The government that can give you all that you need can also take all that you have. And is. Just by lax enforcement of existing law, by having a social agenda to raise the urban poor out of their malaise, by diverting funding border and port inspection services once got.

    We will get those insects forever, until we demand insecticide treated dunnage. Until the boards and timbers the imported machinery is supported by is treated, and certified before we unload it. Either that or have a container quarantine process into which fumigants can be injected and the container held until the fumigant has done its job. Of course, we will kill a few illegal immigrants by such a process. And we surely can’t do that.

    I read recently that 90%, + or -, of the biota in SF Bay is introduced exotic plants and animals. Ballast water, home aquarium dumping, all the usual reasons. And here in Oregon we have people paid to kill the organisms that wash up on the beach attached to flotsam from the Japanese tsunami. Good luck with that. Potemkin would be proud. Two weeks ago the Stonewall Bank area was awash in plastic fishing floats from the size of a softball to perhaps 300 gallon containers. All had a necklace and stringers of gooseneck barnacles and all that lives in that community from far across the Pacific. Transoceanic invasive species are to be expected, due to the cataclysmic nature of the events and gravity working to put it all at sea level. I am sure that the invasion, both directions, is ongoing and species evolve along the way from the process. Warm water life mutations that tolerate a little colder water, or saltier water or more acidic water. I think that is how Darwin offered the concept to us. Of course the nature of post fire vegetation will be not of the same order that is was pre fire. I won’t be here. Why should I care about an ongoing process that brought about the extinction of the Ice Age megafauna? The process is the same. Only the methods have changed. Somehow, over a few billion years, it has all worked out over time, and some of that time issue we just can’t wrap out heads around because it involves millions, and more, of years to accomplish. I don’t have the patience or lohngevity, and certainly am of negligible impact on the whole of it. I need to worry about drought tolerant lawn and garden plants, and sun screen. Oh, and falling down. Doing the geriatric two step to ground. Slip n Slide Guide Service. A tango with gravity. Head bumping the floor. That will end a lot of my interest in the world. A dolt with dementia. We all get there. We should know before the time arrives that we are very much impacted by the actions and foul ups of others, and as you age, maybe it is best not to worry too much about the vigor with which collective mankind can and will bollox the whole deal over time. Enjoy. Wallow in the good stuff.

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