Invasive species threten indigenous forests

Many senior citizens can readily recall the magnificent American elm trees that once dotted our countryside and villages. Dutch Elm Disease, an invasive spread by the Elm Bark Beetle from Asia, decimated these beautiful shade trees in a matter of a few decades. Now we’re faced with even more invasive species that threaten to destroy our indigenous forests.

Thanks primarily to the global economy which sees increasingly more commerce, both legal and illegal, between continents, the list of invasive species in the United States is mind boggling, at last count In the U.S. there are more than 52,000 invasive species today, and the number continues to increase annually despite efforts by government to stop the introductions of alien species to our shores. Whether land or water based, these invasive species have few natural enemies to control them. The latest is the Emerald Ash Borer.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), along with other federal and state agencies, is setting baited traps in ash trees across upstate New York in an effort to search for possible infestations of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a tree-killing beetle. The public will soon be seeing the purple prism traps deployed in treelines throughout New York, with a concentration in areas adjacent to neighboring states and Canadian provinces that have already detected this potentially devastating invasive species.

It has been documented that a main route that enables this insect, as well as other invasive species, to spread is from moving lumber and firewood from one place to another. That is why in 2008, New York adopted regulations that ban untreated firewood from entering the state and restricts intrastate movement of untreated firewood to no more than a 50-mile radius from its source.

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