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 Susan Laszewski
At American Forests, we spend a lot of time talking about, thinking about and working to protect whitebark pine, a keystone species in the high-elevation West, as it struggles with disease and infestation, compounded by rising average temperatures. Maybe that’s why the story of another species of white pine facing its own set of struggles really jumped out at me when it appeared in The New York Times last week. The Yakushima white pine is... (Read More)
by Susan Laszewski
As sci-fi as it sounds, the news that trees make noise beyond the human range of hearing — and that some of these noises communicate important messages to other organisms — is not new. Studies have shown, for example, that some plants release pollen in response to bees’ buzzing. But could trees be saying anything to us? Okay, they may not be speaking to us directly, but new research suggests that, if we learn how to listen, we could gain... (Read More)
by Tacy Lambiase
Think you know the impact that invasive pests can have on our ecosystems and pocketbooks? You might want to think again. Every year, pesky insects and pathogens cost our nation billions of dollars in damaged crops and forestlands. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a list of the top 15 pests that pose the greatest threats to our agricultural system and trees. Some of the insects on the list are familiar ... (Read More)