By Jonathan Yales
As a daily weather forecast evaluates current atmospheric conditions and predicts if it’s likely to rain in the near future, Forestcast — a new podcast from the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station — takes you inside the largest forest research organization in the world to hear what’s happening in the forests of the Great Lakes region and the Northeast.
The first season of Forestcast is a six-episode series on one of the most significant environmental threats to U.S. forests: non-native forest pest insects. Great Lakes Echo will be sharing the full series over the next few weeks.
In the U.S., since European settlement, more than 450 non-native insects have colonized our forests and urban trees — two-to-three new ones every single year.
“If you look at non-native forest insects, there’s about 450 known to be established in the U.S. Most of them do not cause detectable damage,” said Bob Haight, a USDA Forest Service forest economist.
We estimated that about 60 of those 450 have been reported to cause noticeable impacts to live forest trees, and then, a very, very small number are extremely damaging — we call them ‘poster pests,’ because they’re really mean critters. They are: the emerald ash borer, the hemlock woolly adelgid and gypsy moth,” Haight said.
Four of the episodes of Forestcast focus on one of those 60 insects that have caused noticeable damage. Insects such as the emerald ash borer, the hemlock woolly adelgid, the gypsy moth, and the Asian longhorned beetle, as well as possible future forests pest insects that are on the horizon.
The full six-episode season of Forestcast is available online. Listen and subscribe to Forestcast here: