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Researchers Found US Forest Lands Are Under Threat Due to Invasive Species

Researchers from Purdue University and the Department of Agriculture has found that trees in the United States are going through devastating threats due to invasive species. Of their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group reports analyzing thousands of forest lands across the US and the mortality charges due to 15 main tree pest infestations, and what they found.

The United States has long been related to vast expanses of the forest—however large-scale cutting has reduced forests over the previous century. Now, forest trees confront a new peril—infestation by invasive pests unintentionally introduced into the nation. Some outbreaks have already made headlines, such as the broad lack of trees due to Dutch elm disease, the lack of most American chestnuts due to a fungal disease; moreover, ash borers have annihilated ash tree populations in the Chicago space.

Along with providing wood-based products and beautiful parklands, forests are a part of the carbon cycle—every tree sequesters a whole lot of carbon—after they die, they launch that carbon into the environment, contributing to world warming. Prior analysis has proven that there are approximately 450 invasive tree pests within the US that damage or kill trees. Most are considered to have been carried into the nation by way of international trade and journey. On this new effort, the researchers set a goal of learning the scale of the menace US forests face.

The researchers discovered that approximately 40 % of all forested land in the US are at risk from invasive species. They also found that such pests are already killing so many trees that 6 million tons of carbon are launched into the atmosphere annually. They note that not a lot will be done for trees already infected; however, quarantine programs could be applied to prevent the spread of pests.

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