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Harvard Forest to study impacts of Asian Longhorned beetle

September 1, 2009
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Harvard Forest scientists Dave Orwig and David Foster were recently awarded a USDA Forest Health Management Cooperative Agreement to study vegetation data and associated tree cores from a forested area that was recently infested with an invasive pest, the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB; Anoplophora glabripennis). This invasive insect was recently discovered in Worcester, MA and is a serious threat to forest ecosystems in North America. The ALB is quite large (up to 1.5 inches long) and feeds on a variety of hardwood trees including maple, willow, elm, ash, poplar and birch. Trees infested with ALB typically survive from 2- 10 years. Since its discovery in August 2008, over 20,000 trees have been removed from a 64 square mile regulated area to prevent further infestation of this beetle. While previous ALB infestations have been primarily in urban settings, the Worcester infestation is adjacent to and includes large blocks of forest land. Collaborating with USDA scientists, Dave Orwig will focus on a wooded conservation area in the northern portion of Worcester, one of the only known forested areas in North America that has been infested with this serious pest. Within the conservation area, they will determine the forest stand structure and composition, the impact of ALB and eradication measures, and the tree growth patterns of trees with and without ALB. 

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