You used to just hear stories of a particular forest in one state being decimated by insects, but the situation has gotten increasingly worse to the point that now these invaders have become a serious threat to biodiversity and forests all over the United States. These insect pests are costing us billions of dollars a year with the damage they cause, and they have driven some species of trees towards extinction. And the situation is only expected to get worse. Experts expect these invaders to put 63 percent of our country’s forests in danger through 2027.
This kind of destruction would have enormous negative consequences for the environment and our entire eco system. Trees are our number one defense against greenhouse gas emissions, and dead forests increase the chances of disastrous wildfires happening. The decimation of these forests also eliminate the habitats of many birds, insects, and smaller animals, thereby also eliminating larger animal’s food source.
Experts believe that the main culprit of this increased number of insect pests decimating forests is globalization. Foreign insects can hide in packing containers or plants and end up in the U.S.. And once they get here they flourish, and have rapidly expanded their population and range of where they live. All 50 states are now dealing with these insect pests destroying forests. We’re working on fighting back against this destructive foe, but progress is slow and difficult. Let’s hope our entire country doesn’t turn into a barren wasteland in the next 20 years.
Has your state’s forests been affected by these insect invaders? What are experts doing to fight them?