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New Grant and Harvard Forest Publication: Invasive Pests

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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Hemlock wooly adelgid

Forest ecologist Dave Orwig, along with collaborators Evan Preisser (Principal Investigator-University of Rhode Island), Tom Holmes (USDA Forest Service), and Joe Elkinton (Umass Amherst) have received a $422,000 grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) - Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The grant focuses on the two invasive insects that threaten our native hemlock forest ecosystems: the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) and the elongate hemlock scale (EHS). Their research addresses several questions of pressing ecological significance. It will provide a specific example of the potentially widespread phenomenon in which the effects of one invasive species are exacerbated by the presence of another. The study will also examine the conditions leading to biological invasions in general, including abiotic factors such as temperature and precipitation, as well as biological factors like the chemical make-up of a hemlock's needles. Finally, the research will assess the effect of hemlock decline on residential property values and will provide a template for how science can enhance decision-making by providing better forecasts for the future of our forests.

The Ecological Landscaping Association recently featured an article by Dave Orwig on these two invasive species: "Invasive Pests: Coming Soon to a Tree Near You!" as well as the Asian longhorned beetle and the emerald ash borer. 

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