The environmental invaders just keep coming

Chenango County is being "invaded," and, no, I'm not just referring to the gas companies that are actively exploring and seeking natural gas here. Rather, these invaders come from afar, from such places as China, Japan, Europe and Africa. Some have been here for many years, while some are relatively new arrivals, environmentally speaking.

How they arrived here can largely be attributed to public ignorance, sloppy federal agricultural and markets inspections of imports (or no inspection at all), and the change to a fully "global economy" where fewer of the goods we buy today are manufactured, produced or grown within our borders. It's estimated that more than 50,000 invasive species now exist in the U.S., and many of these call New York and Chenango County their "adopted home."

One of the latest is the Emerald Ash Borer, first discovered in Michigan in 2002, and which was recently discovered in Pennsylvania forests, just miles south of the New York border. The insect, an invasive species from Asia, attacks Ash trees, which account for about eight percent of all N.Y. trees. If this reminds some of you of the great Dutch Elm Disease that wiped out nearly all American elm trees in the United States by the mid-twentieth century, it should, for the same is apt to happen with our elm trees now.

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