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US Forest Service study finds hemlock still abundant despite adelgid infestation
Date:9/26/2011

ar," 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.


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Contact: Jane Hodgins
jmhodgins@fs.fed.us
651-649-5281
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

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