Navigation Links
US Forest Service study finds hemlock still abundant despite adelgid infestation

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pennsylvania, September 27, 2011 An analysis of two decades of data collected by the U.S. Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program shows that the live volume of hemlocks in the eastern United States is increasing despite infestations of hemlock woolly adelgid that have decimated local populations.

The information comes from an e-Science Update co-authored by scientists from two U.S. Forest Service research stations, the Northern Research Station (NRS) and the Southern Research Station (SRS), and published by SRS.

"The update provides an overview of the status and extent of hemlocks in the eastern United States based on FIA inventories conducted by SRS and NRS," according to Randall Morin, a research forester with the NRS' FIA program and the primary author. "It also incorporates research by NRS scientists and the results of pest surveys conducted by the Forest Service's State and Private Forestry Program."

Two native species of hemlock eastern and Carolina grow in eastern North America. Although a minor component in most of the forests of the eastern United States, high densities of eastern hemlock are found in New England and the mountains of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. The Carolina hemlock, similar in appearance to the eastern hemlock, is found only on rocky mountain slopes of the Southern Appalachian region.

Researchers conducted the analysis on 20 years of data collected across 433 counties stretching from southern Maine into northern Georgia. They found an overall increase in live-tree hemlock basal area in counties infested with hemlock woolly adelgid as well as those without infestations.

A tiny insect introduced into the United States from East Asia, the hemlock woolly adelgid, feeds at the base of hemlock needles, defoliating and eventually killing trees. "Since the insect was first noticed in the 1950s it has expanded its range at between 4.7 and 12.7 miles a year," according to Andrew Liebhold, an NRS research entomologist. "Hemlock woolly adelgid currently infests about 45 percent of the range of hemlocks in the United States and 41 percent of the total hemlock basal area." These percentages are up 26 percent and 25 percent respectively since 2004.

"The analysis also showed that the general regional trend in the East over the past 50 years has been one of increasing hemlock volume, even with infestation by the hemlock woolly adelgid," according to Sonja Oswalt, an SRS forester and co-author. "Even though the insect has caused substantial negative impacts on hemlock at stand-level scales, analysis of FIA data suggests that infestations have not yet reduced the overall abundance of hemlock, even in states where hemlock woolly adelgid has been active for decades."

The authors caution that the trend of increasing hemlock volume may not last much longer. "Despite increasing hemlock volume over the last four decades across most of the eastern United States, the regions with long-established populations of hemlock woolly adelgid are also the regions where hemlock is accumulating slowest," Morin said. "Net growth rates decrease as years of infestation increase, and mortality rates increase, with mortality starting to equal net growth in areas where hemlock woolly adelgid has been present for 10 to 20 years." As time goes on the trend of increasing abundance may begin to reverse.


Contact: Jane Hodgins
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station

Related biology news :

1. Lichens function as indicators of nitrogen pollution in forests
2. Tropical rainforest and mountain species may be threatened by global warming
3. Forest peoples rights key to reducing emissions from deforestation
4. When it comes to forest soil, wildfires pack 1-2 punch
5. University of Leicester professor adds new perspective to rainforest debate
6. Wake Forest plays integral role in effort to revolutionize vehicle safety
7. Diversity of trees in Ecuadors Amazon rainforest defies simple explanation
8. Earthworm activity can alter forests carbon-carrying capabilities
9. Living fossil tree contains genetic imprints of rain forests under climate change
10. Dried mushrooms slow climate warming in Northern forests
11. Wildfires result in loss of forests reserved by Northwest Forest Plan
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016 Paris ... Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of people ... during the major tournament Teleste, an international ... and services, announced today that its video security solution will ... to back up public safety across the country. The system ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance ... Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the global ... will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... Inc, a leader in software and hardware technologies for ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... May 12, 2016 , a ... the overview results from the Q1 wave of its ... wave was consumers, receptivity to a program where they ... a health insurance company. "We were surprised ... says Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid ... to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency ... new test has already been incorporated into numerous ... types. Over 230 clinical trials are ... including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica ... in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a ... , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... UAS LifeSciences, one of the leading manufacturers ... Probiotics, into Target stores nationwide. The company, which has been manufacturing high quality ... list of well-respected retailers. This list includes such fine stores as Whole Foods, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ... and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 ... targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting class ... in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances ...
Breaking Biology Technology: