What’s Buggin’ Our Trees?

An estimated 105 people crowded Blue Spruce Lodge on September 29 to hear a program about threats to our forests presented by board member Dr. Mike Tyree, an Assistant Professor of Plant Physiological Ecology in the Department of Biology at IUP, and several of his students.

The program was billed as “What’s buggin’ our trees” and a diverse audience showed their concern about our forests.  They learned how our forests are changing in response to invasive pests and how we can respond. The program included an introduction of some relatively recent attacks we have seen in western PA such as the disappearance of American chestnut from our upland forests and the rapid decline of the American elm and ash. Dr. Tyree looked at threats to our state tree the “eastern hemlock” and current efforts to restore American chestnut back to our forests.  Several students discussed studies measuring success with restoring certain tree species.

The audience did not leave with a “feel good feeling” because the challenges to our forests will continue.  When forest scientists try a new technique it will be many years to find if they got good results.