The Invasive Onslaught

Last week’s Schatz Tree Genetics Symposium at Penn State Mont Alto concentrated on the issues of black walnut and butternut in today’s forests. Both species are threatened by invasive species. First insects, such as bark beetles, attack the trees, and are followed by various fungi. Thousand canker and butternut canker are major culprits. 

The huge increase of international trade has increased the use of wooden packaging that leads to both “treated” and untreated wood entering the country. Given the economics of the problem and the lack of political will to enforce solutions, it seems impossible to control the situation.
Researchers are continuing to look for ways to slow down the destruction and maybe even restore the species. They don’t have much funding to get things done.  
I’m not sure what will happen in the end. Perhaps there will be a world forest where only the strongest species will survive. The highly specialized species that depend on a specific niche just might not make it. We are certainly in for interesting times. 
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