Tree Terminators

Insects Assault America’s Forests




alenka2194/Shutterstock.com

In a towering forest of centuries-old eastern hemlocks, the tiny hemlock woolly adelgid spends its life sucking sap and eventually killing the tree. The bug is one example of an expanding horde of insects draining the life out of forests from New England to the West Coast. Aided by global trade, a warming climate and drought-weakened terrain, this invasion represents one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the U.S. Scientists say they are already driving some tree species toward extinction and causing billions of dollars a year in damage, with the situation expected to worsen.

Today’s connected world enables foreign invaders to cross oceans in packing materials or on garden plants, and then reach American forests to rapidly expand their ranges. According to a new study in Ecological Applications, scientists say several species of hemlock and 20 species of ash could become nearly extinct in coming decades. Such destruction would eliminate a critical sponge to capture greenhouse gas emissions, a natural shelter for birds and native insects and a reliable food supply for bears and other animals. Dead forests also increase the danger of wildfires.


This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Saving Sharks

With 30 percent of shark species threatened with extinction, island nations are establishing bans on shark fishing in surrounding waters.

Dirty Driving

From Paris to Athens to Seattle, cities are struggling to counter vehicular pollution with car-free days and other strategies.

Water Saver

A South African girl has designed a super-absorbent polymer made of recycled avocado skins and orange peels that can store reserves of water hundreds of time its own weight.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Chicago Area Hospitals Committed to Excellence

The Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge taken by hospitals provides a framework to improve the health of patients, communities and the environment.

Opportunity to Learn Reiki From a Master of Masters

Janice Lodato, MA, RMT, Reiki master of masters and NCBTMB-approved provider, is offering several opportunities to learn Reiki.

Lightworkers Invite Everyone to Annual Gathering at Benedictine University

Naperville’s Joanne Macko is bringing the 10th annual Lightworkers Midwest Conference to Benedictine University, in Lisle.

Dr. Chi Returns with Tongue and Fingernail Analysis

Dr. Tsu Tsair Chi, an international expert in the Eastern medicine art of tongue and fingernail analysis, will present a free lecture and book signing from 7 to 9 p.m., June 10, at Rozich Chiropractic, in Orland Park.

‘The Dirt Doctor’ Is Back on Chicago’s Progressive Talk Radio

Listeners can again tune in to Howard Garrett, “The Dirt Doctor,” live from 8 to 10 a.m. Sundays on WCPT 820 AM and streaming online at ChicagosProgressiveTalk.com.

Harvard Says Calcium Supplements are Safe for Heart Health

Despite recent news reports questioning the safety of calcium supplements, there is actually evidence to the contrary.