By Tacy Lambiase

Over the past week, we’ve been tracking several interesting stories related to forests and trees around the world. From wildfire season predictions to victories over an invasive insect species, here are several stories from the world of trees.

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery. Credit: Tara Siuk

Arlington Cemetery Proposes Plan That Would Cut Down Almost 900 Trees
An expansion plan sparked some controversy at Arlington Cemetery when it was revealed that almost 900 trees would be cut down to make room for more burial plots. In response, a new plan was recently released by the Army Corps of Engineers to address concerns about razing so many century-old trees, but many people who opposed the original plan are still not satisfied. Although cemetery officials have promised to replace most of the trees that will be but down, the revised plan would only save eight of the historic trees.

New Jersey Is Declared Free From the Notorious ALB
Earlier this month, we posted on our blog about the damaging effects that Asian longhorned beetles can have on maple trees. Now, some good news has emerged from officials in New Jersey: The state has now declared itself free from the Asian longhorned beetle, an invasive insect that had plagued trees in New Jersey for more than a decade. In 2008, Illinois declared itself free from these beetles, making New Jersey the second state to eradicate this species.

Credit: i_yudai/Flickr

According to an article in Time, the demand for disposable chopsticks in China has increased dramatically, and more than 80 billion wooden sets of chopsticks are used and thrown away each year. The chairman of China’s Jilin Forestry Industry Group, Bo Guangxin, estimates that 20 million 20-year-old trees need to be cut down every year to satisfy this demand. Government officials are attempting to solve the problem by encouraging citizens to carry around reusable chopsticks.

U.S. Forest Service Develops Map to Illustrate Wildfire Risks
The Forest Service has developed a map that shows the wildfire risk to every state in the continental United States. The color-coded 2013 map shows the level of risk that a particular area is under for experiencing a wildfire this year, from a “very low” risk to a “very high” risk. Since the U.S. Forest Service ran out of money during last year’s fire season to combat dangerous wildfires, American Forests has signed a letter with other conservation groups to petition the U.S. Senate to allocate more funds for wildfire fighting programs.