Asian Longhorned Beetle

Asian longhorned beetle. Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Forests are under attack from invasive species, diseases and unprecedented outbreak of pests, while trying to withstand stress caused by climate change and drought. The Midwest is fighting is the invasive species emerald ash borer, which is killing tens of millions of ash trees. New England has seen tens of thousands of trees succumb to the Asian longhorned beetle, which, if it spreads, is estimated to be able to destroy 30 percent of the country’s hardwoods. In the West, millions of trees are being lost to the combined threat of mountain pine beetles and white pine blister rust. Cities across the country have lost tens of thousands of elm trees to Dutch elm disease over the last 60 years. Developing strong management and restoration plans is essential to protecting our forests from invasives, disease and pests.

Our Strategy

Each threat to forests requires us to take a unique approach to solving it.

Through American Forests Global ReLeaf, we work to replant trees, including disease-resistant trees, in areas harmed by disease, insects and more.

A mountain pine beetle excavating a tunnel in a ponderosa pine

A mountain pine beetle excavating a tunnel in a ponderosa pine. Credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

Meanwhile, our Endangered Western Forests initiative is helping fight myriad threats to our western forests by planting disease-resistant trees, applying insect-repelling pheromone patches to trees, developing new management plans and more.

Injecting an ash tree to protect against EAB

Injecting an ash tree to protect against emerald ash borer. Credit: David Cappaert, Michigan State University/

Other issues can be addressed more efficiently through policy than field work by trying to prevent future problems, as well as fixing current ones. This approach has led to our efforts in advocating for sustainable forest management, economic incentives for landowners to keep their property forested, and recognition of forests as water resources.

Take Action

Visit American Forests’ Action Center to send pre-written letters to Congress and other representatives to support sound wildfire policy. Letters available now include:

donate_editDonate to American Forests to support our work, like our efforts to protect forests from the threats they face.



Forest Threats News from our Loose Leaf blog

The Successors of Giants

by Susan Laszewski
The hemlock wooly adelgid quickly transforms entire swaths of forests to skeletons. Credit: Will Blozan

Since then, HWA has continued to decimate hemlock populations, while other species gradually move in to fill their place. A new study from the U.S. Forest Service Coweeta Hydrological Laboratory in North Carolina more closely reveals some of the effects the replacement of hemlock with other species is having on the southern Appalachian forest — specifically on the hydrologic cycle.

As Brantley says in the U.S. Forest Service p... (Read More)

A Cautionary Tale of Birds and Their Trees

by American Forests
The Toco toucan (Ramphastos toco) is found throughout central and eastern South America.

By Michelle Werts

Which came first the bird or the tree?

Well, I can’t really answer that question exactly without getting into a lot of complicated — and potentially controversial — details, but I can tell you that the two are intimately connected in ecosystems around the world.

A study published on Friday in Science reveals that large-billed bird populations, specifically the colorful toucan, ... (Read More)

Shifting Thinking, Shifting Forests

by Susan Laszewski
Boreal forest

It’s been a discouraging few weeks for climate change in the news. First, we learned that atmospheric levels of CO2 have reached 400ppm for the first time in three million years. If that milestone wasn’t enough to put climate on your mind, new research out of the Lawrence Berkley National Lab has called into question a widely held prediction, replacing it with a more pessimistic vision of the future.

In the meantime, changing cl... (Read More)