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rainbowgardener
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Threats to trees

I was about to post this as a response in the Dogwood Pest thread, but decided it should have its own thread:

I do worry whether we will end up with any trees left. Along with dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, emerald ash borer and anthracnose (which affects several varieties of trees), we are currently fighting:

hemlock wooly adelgid- an insect that is rapidly spreading and destroying eastern and Carolina hemlocks

balsam wooly adelgid - relative that attacks balsam and Fraser fir trees

Asian longhorn beetle- a truly terrifying one, since it attacks many different hardwood trees

beech bark disease - introduced disease threatening American beech trees

mountain pine beetle - This one is actually a native beetle, unlike most of these pests. When things are in balance, "these insects play an important role in the life of a forest, attacking old or weakened trees, and speeding development of a younger forest. However, unusually hot, dry summers and mild winters throughout the region during the last few years, along with forests filled with mature lodgepole pine, have led to an unprecedented epidemic. It may be the largest forest insect blight ever seen in North America. Climate change has contributed to the size and severity of the outbreak, and the outbreak itself may, with similar infestations, have significant effects on the capability of northern forests to remove greenhouse gas (CO2) from the atmosphere. " (wiki - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_pine_beetle )

white pine blister rust - non-native fungal disease, rapidly wiping out western white pine forests. introduced to North America around the turn of the twentieth century. Since its introduction, it has spread to 38 states and caused substantial damage and mortality

sudden oak death - in california and oregon, but spreading and affects a wide variety of trees; like many of these, no known cure

European gypsy moth - found from Vermont to North Carolina and from New York and New Jersey to OH, KY, MI, WI. This moth is a significant pest because the caterpillars have voracious appetites for more than 300 species of trees and shrubs, posing a danger to North America's forests. The caterpillars defoliate trees, leaving trees vulnerable to diseases and other pests and can eventually kill the tree.

And of course you can't just remove one kind of tree from a forest. Every time one of these goes, there are cascading effects on associated plant and animal communities.

When we think of endangered species, we don't normally think of trees, but they may be the weakest link and the most critical, since they play such an important role in sequestering carbon.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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Re: Threats to trees

At least for the mountain pine beetle, we can do a small part by not disturbing bird habitats when hiking. Always stay on the trails. Never leave the trail. Well, it's also dangerous because of ticks and poison ivy/oak. But for the sake of the birds it's best to keep on the trail. I've seen people ignore signs and go stomping through a clearly marked nesting area. But even if it's not marked, stay on the trail.

Beyond that of course we can encourage birds with feeders and baths. Birds are natural predators of grubs and caterpillars.

ButterflyLady29
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Re: Threats to trees

Also there is now the threat of Walnut Twig Beetles which carry thousand cankers disease.
https://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL/pubs/w ... isease.pdf
Sometimes I wonder if the US will still have trees at all in 50 years.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Threats to trees

Sometimes I wonder if the US will still have trees at all in 50 years.....

me too!

Like I said... trees may be the weakest link and the most critical, since they play such an important role in sequestering carbon.

And you get into a runaway feedback loop ... when you are removing trees on a massive scale as we are, not only with all these pests and diseases, but cutting down or burning rainforests: " more than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day." https://www.thinkglobalgreen.org/deforestation.html You did read that right, every DAY. So when we are removing trees on a massive scale we are reducing the ability of the world forest to absorb CO2, and therefore we are increasing the amount of it in the atmosphere, therefore we are intensifying global climate change. Therefore more trees die from all of the above causes plus being ripped out by increasingly strong hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.

One thing we can be doing is PLANT ALL THE TREES YOU CAN and take good care of them. The little quarter of an acre lot I had, I planted about 25 trees on and would have kept going if I had stayed there....
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

imafan26
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Re: Threats to trees

I find the biggest threat to trees is civilization destroying the land and the forests to make room for homes and recreation areas. Homes are getting squeezed onto smaller lots and fewer people are planting trees. Trees that are at least 8 inches in diameter actually make the most oxygen that we need to breathe. The millions of miles of asphalt and airplanes makes the world a lot smaller making people and unfortunately pests highly mobile. Protecting habitat and planting more trees, especially native trees is the best defense.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Threats to trees

It makes me sad, the way we cut diwn trees like they don't matter. It breaks my heart to see a old tree cut down in my neighborhood. I was trying to imagine a different kind of world, a world where trees are protected. Wouldn't that be nice?
We can't keep on doing like we are. Things are going to have to change.
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ButterflyLady29
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Re: Threats to trees

Even worse than seeing an old tree get cut down is seeing a 200 year old tree topped! Why that kind of mutilation is even allowed is beyond me.

I agree with planting all the trees and shrubs we can. It's funny how everyone is looking for ways to stop or slow down global warming (although I know if it's really even happening is debated by many people) through stopping pollution when the best solution is to plant more trees and save the rain forests. Even the trees in the Monarch butterfly wintering grounds in Mexico are being cut down in alarming amounts. We all need trees and shrubs more than most people know.

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