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.
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.
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.
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.
Visit American Forests’ Action Center to send pre-written letters to Congress and other representatives to support sound wildfire policy. Letters available now include:
Forest Threats News from our Loose Leaf blog
by Scott Maxham
About 1,700 years ago, humans first arrived on the scene on the island of Hawai’i. Since then, the island’s biodiversity has steadily declined. This is due to several factors: deforestation, humans repurposing land for agriculture and, possibly most detrimental, the introduction of non-native species. And it’s a non-native species that has put a Hawai’ian bird on the brink of extinction.
Non-native plants and animals have been b... (Read More)
by Susan Laszewski
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that the latest update to their Red List — a database in which the world’s species are classified according to threat level — includes the first global reassessment of conifers.
In addition to the shelter and food they provide for wildlife, conifers play an important role globally by sequestering carbon. Coniferous forests take three times more carbon out of... (Read More)
by Susan Laszewski
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)